Indian Railways is working with the Indian Space Research Organisation or ISRO to build and deploy safety mechanisms for safer rail journeys, union minister Piyush Goyal said on Thursday. He said he met with ISRO Chairman AS Kiran Kumar a few days ago and the Indian Railways along with RailTel are working together to explore use of space technology for railway safety.
"Safety is very pressing and urgent need. The discussion which we had was very eye-opening in some sense for me but also very exciting in terms of possibilities that open for engaging with space technologies that ISRO has developed, helping in bringing safer travel to Indian railways," Mr Goyal said at the India Mobile Congress.
Suresh Prabhu exited as railway minister in the cabinet reshuffle earlier this month. Several train derailment accidents have happened in recent times.
Goyal said the railways has been an early adopter of computers, and technology could have been expanded for operational processes like safety. "Way back in 1960s, railways started using computers in a small way and by 1985 you had passenger reservations system all computerised," he said
."I remember banking started using computers in 1990s. It was quite an interesting fact for me that in late 1960s railways started using computers. I am delighted about that but I do wish we had expanded those frontiers much to bring technology for safety, for example," Mr Goyal said.
He said modern technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning will give a chance to India to look at what is latest across the world and bring it to the country.
"I have asked RailTel to look at a programme to connect thousands of railway stations with Wi-Fi. We can actually provide Wi-Fi to villages around railway stations," he said.