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Secure Intelligent Radio for Trains (SIRT)

[+] Author Affiliations
K. R. Damindra S. Bandara, Satish Kolli, Duminda Wijesekara

George Mason University, Fairfax, VA

Paper No. JRC2017-2243, pp. V001T03A004; 10 pages
  • 2017 Joint Rail Conference
  • 2017 Joint Rail Conference
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, April 4–7, 2017
  • Conference Sponsors: Rail Transportation Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5071-8
  • Copyright © 2017 by ASME


American Railroads are planning to complete implementing their Positive Train Control (PTC) systems by 2020. Safety objectives of PTC are to avoid inter-train collisions, train derailments and ensuring railroad worker safety. Under published specifications of I-ETMS (the PTC system developed by Class I freight railroads), the on-board PTC controller communicates with two networks; namely, the Signaling network and the Wayside Interface Unit network to gather navigational information such as the positions of other trains, the status of critical infrastructure (such as switches) and any hazardous conditions that may affect the train path. By design, PTC systems are predicated on having a reliable radio network operating in reserved radio spectrum, although the PTC system itself is designed to be a real-time fail safe distributed control systems. Secure Intelligent Radio for Trains (SIRT) is an intelligent radio that is customized to train operations with the aim of improving the reliability and security of the radio communication network.

SIRT has two tiers. The upper tier has the Master Cognitive Engine (MCE) which communicates with other SIRT nodes to obtain signaling and wayside device information. To do so, the MCE communicates with cognitive engines at the lower tier of SIRT; namely the Cryptographic Cognitive Engine (CCE) (that provide cryptographic security and threat detection) and the Spectrum Management Cognitive Engine (SCE) (that uses spectrum monitoring, frequency hopping and adaptive modulation to ensure the reliability of the radio communication medium). We presented the architecture and the prototype development of the CCE in [1]. This paper presents the design of the MCE and the SCE.

We are currently developing a prototype of the SCE and the MCE and testing the performance of our cognitive radio system under varying radio noise conditions. Our experiments show that SIRT dynamically switches modulation schemes in response to radio noise and switches channels in response to channel jamming.

Copyright © 2017 by ASME
Topics: Trains



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