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Satellite navigation eases railroad workers' worries

China Daily | Updated: 2023-02-17 10:17
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GUIYANG — Zhao Long, who works at a railroad signal workshop, used to worry a great deal about the safety of colleagues during the annual Spring Festival holiday, as increased passenger and train traffic resulting from the travel rush leaves less time for maintenance.

Now, thanks to the introduction of a personnel protection system supported by the Beidou Navigation Satellite System ahead of this year's festival, Zhao's concerns have been put to rest.

China's homegrown navigation system is being integrated into an increasing number of applications such as positioning, navigation and international search and rescue.

"The new system allows operators to obtain precise real-time positions for maintenance personnel along the tracks, as they each carry terminals. Operators are able to guide on-site maintenance staff via video or voice commands. If they exit a secure area, the terminal triggers an alarm," explained Zhao, who has been working at the signal workshop in Guizhou province for a decade. "The new system better protects the safety of workers."

It integrates high-precision positioning technology, electronic fence technology based on geographic information systems, a train navigation terminal, the internet of things and other high-tech features to provide protection to train stations, locomotives and workers, said Yi Pei, a sales manager with Beidou's business division at Hi-Target International Group.

To date, the new system has been installed at 600 train stations and covers 10,000 kilometers of track, and roughly 15,000 terminals are in use, Yi added.

Beidou's navigation technology has also been used in agriculture. In Botou city, Hebei province, large corn harvesters have been installed with autopilots for fully automated harvesting.

"There are 200 intelligent agricultural machines in the city, including drones, sprayers, seeders, tractors and harvesters, all of which are equipped with the Beidou navigation system," said Li Tielian, director of the city's agricultural and rural affairs bureau.

Beidou's positioning technology has helped traffic police obtain evidence, dispatch emergency personnel, undertake rescues and conduct data analysis. The widespread integration of Beidou and big data, the internet of things and artificial intelligence occurs across the fields of transportation, energy, agriculture, communications, meteorology, natural resources, environmental protection, emergency response and disaster relief.

According to a white paper titled "China's Beidou Navigation Satellite System in the New Era" released in November, the system is on a fast track toward large-scale use. In 2021, China's satellite navigation and positioning service industry was valued at 470 billion yuan ($69.24 billion), the white paper said.


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