Sensors and Connectivity series: The evolution of sensor technologies

Sensors are devices used for measuring characteristics of their environments. They detect and measure events or changes and can provide a corresponding output, generally as electrical or optical signals. Wireless Sensor Networks consist of sensors that are networked together to fulfil the required functions such as monitoring the environmental conditions of an asset or an area. Sensors are widely used in industrial contexts ranging from rail, aerospace, medicine, road transport etc.

Image author: Gaël Chardon.


Sensors can be integrated into the Internet of Things (IoT) to improve access to the generated data. This has the benefit of building on the significant deployment of sensors on both rolling stock and infrastructure already made. Data analytics based on sensor information could be used for operational improvements such as schedule optimisation and improvements to passenger safety and comfort. Sensors on Taiwan’s high-speed rail network automatically trigger maintenance activities by detecting potential problems, and through automated alarms, addresses the problem before it becomes a risk to passenger safety. Future advances in sensor technology contribute to the development of smart trains and smart infrastructure.


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