Computing Health Management in Transportation System: No Room for Error

The market for transportation systems is forecasted to continue its rapid expansion according to a report by Transparency Market Research that predicts double-digit growth from 2013 to reach $30.2 billion by 2019. As the use of transportation systems expands to monitor, control and provide a diverse set of operator and passenger capabilities, OEMs must integrate more advanced computing technologies to keep up with growing expectations and next-generation requirements. But providing the latest technologies is only part of the requirements list for this critical arena; computing platforms must also enable design flexibility and deliver long-term availability and value. That is because railway applications are now required to support broad and varied needs from rolling stock and fleet management to video surveillance, Internet for passengers and ticketing or conductor/driver information. In addition, platform reliability must be at the highest level to ensure maximum uptime availability, safety and security and comply with ISO9001, EN50155 and SIL4 standards and possess IRIS and UNIFE certifications. As operators and service providers well know, failures in the field can be extremely costly; not to mention how the failure can affect passenger service disruptions and satisfaction.


State-of-the-Art: New integrated Computing Platform Health Management Technologies


Railway operations are highly dependent on the status of the computer systems in the field as well as online information that allows real-time access about operational events. Large rolling stock fleets are typically spread over thousands of kilometers of railway operations, which can make remote system status access difficult. A major game-changing innovation that delivers the advanced intelligence needed to cost-effectively manage and monitor system operations are new integrated computing platform health management technologies. Health management is a relatively new term in transportation system operations. Within embedded computing platforms, health management technologies deliver the ability to verify systems’ integrity and operational capacity to perform as specified. Significant efficiencies and benefits from remote monitoring, fleet availability, serviceability and anticipated maintenance can be achieved now that were not available previously. To sum up, computing health management brings a major value to support current applications and opens a broad new range of application support that includes:

  • Spare-part logistics management
  • Fleet management allowing localization of failed equipment
  • High availability management
  • Preventive maintenance to increase the availability of the fleet
  • Field service support
  • Reliability analysis
  • Acceptance field testing


Three main Functions: Monitoring, Control and Communication

The health management information provided needs to be precise when relating the computer’s vital status of critical and major resources. In case of loss or defect of one of these resources, it is important that any malfunction is detected, logged and reported so that distant operators can remotely access critical status data in order to make actionable decisions. Furthermore, uptime and customer satisfaction can be better managed from essential system resources such as power supply signals, temperature probes, watchdog counter, heart beat signals and major system components that include the main processor, memory subsystem, or interfaces. Computing health management supports three main functions: monitoring, control and communication. At best, it leverages the advantages of intelligent connected devices that make up the Internet of Things (IoT) regardless if they are Internet, cloud based or restricted to private Intranet.

If you want even more information on computing health management you can also read our other blog articles about the issue here and here

As you can see, it’s no question that computing health management in transportation systems is needed to maximize long-term reliability, manage costs and enhance customer satisfaction. But which system functions are needed in detail to achieve IoT success in the transportation market? Within my next blog post I will give an overview, so stay tuned!If you can’t wait, you can also download our Whitepaper “Transportation Computing Health Management” under this link.

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