Technology Focus: How could Augmented Reality change working in rail?

Augmented Reality (AR) is a technology that allows users to interact with their environment by enhancing the real-world with an overlay of digital content, served by a computing device. These include mobile phones, tablets, smart glasses or any other similar devices featuring a processor, display, sensors and camera.


AR can be used in the rail industry to aid in monitoring the condition of components by overlaying information on what is seen through a computing device. The Swiss Federal Railway and Netcetera, a software firm, tested the use of HoloLens for rolling stock maintenance in 2017, demonstrating how an employee can view the interior workings of a rail car with smart glasses. AR can also be used in maintenance applications to help identify the location of components where access is difficult and information about assets can be stored digitally.
Moreover, AR can be utilised in training and development schemes for the rail industry. Siemens has begun to digitalise its training content and is using AR to help trainees practice more complex tasks before they practice in real life.
The technology could also be used at ticket gates, where information about the ticket a passenger has purchased could be accessed by Revenue Protection Officers through a device, catching out fare evaders.
AR can provide a personalised passenger experience, in line with the RTS. Ixigo, a travel search engine in India, has recently launched an AR feature on its mobile application for train passengers. The feature makes use of Apple’s ARKit and provides passengers with overlaying information showing where their coach is and how far they are from it.


Banner image author: Oyundari Zorigtbaatar

Log in or register to keep reading
Register for free individual access
  • Unlock research, articles and more
  • Get updates on RSSB’s activities





Need some help?
To talk to us about accessing RSSB content or corporate membership:
Cookies help us improve your website experience.
By using our website, you agree to our use of cookies.