VaporVision: Opening Doors with AI

June 13, 2024

In the dynamic world of public transit, the challenge is clear: how do you safely juggle a bustling onboarding and offboarding ridership while maintaining a punctual dance with the clock? Transit agencies are on a mission to get you safely from point A to B, and it's a balancing act where the goal is not just to keep the wheels turning but to ensure your journey is as smooth and efficient as possible.

Wabtec, with its finger firmly on the pulse of technological innovation, is leading a shift in how we open, and close, the doors on public transportation. Grab ahold of the handrails. Wabtec's new AI-powered VaporVision™ system is going to enhance the passenger experience throughout each bus ride.


The Future of Transit Efficiency

What exactly makes this new technology so thrilling?

VaporVision™│Wabtec Corporation

In today’s vast market of transit solutions, Wabtec’s leading-edge VaporVision™ system stands alone as the first of its kind. Powered by artificial intelligence-based deep learning, it’s a sensing solution that integrates seamlessly with existing Vapor door systems. The transit industry is familiar with the use of on-board video systems and passenger sensing solutions using a variety of technologies. However, VaporVision is a paradigm shift. This innovative camera isn't just recording videos– it's making operational decisions by monitoring and automating door movements.

Here’s the product innovation difference:

  • It's AI-powered, deep learning means more consistent detection of people in the doorway, and it can make smarter, instantaneous decisions on keeping the doors open based on operating conditions.
  • It recognizes and records every door interaction, which can be used for diagnostics and other advanced functionality..
  • Reduces maintenance. A single, all-in-one smart camera replaces multiple ultrasonic, infrared sensors, mechanical push buttons, tape switches, touch bars, and light beams. It’s the minimalist's dream and the maintenance crew's best friend.
  • Different detection areas can be created, giving transit agencies the flexibility to define exactly where and how each zone responds to the presence of people or objects.

Safety Redefined

Wabtec Bus’s Senior Software Engineer, Karl Kobel says today's Vapor Bus transit rear doors can be designed with at least three layers of passenger protection from door impact.

"First is the "sensitive edges," which consist of sensors embedded in the edges of the doors. Second is the electric motors themselves that can detect an opposing force. When combined with the sensitive edges and electric motors, VaporVision provides the highest level of protection enabling the doors to move away from the passenger."

The VaporVision system's expanded field of view and AI-powered smart detection is a step change in on-board sensing capabilities.

VaporVision automatically records passenger door interactions, creating a timestamped record of activity in any area within its field of view.


Behind the Vision

VaporVision™ │ Wabtec Corporation

VaporVision's design is a collaborative effort between Wabtec's Digital Advanced Technologies group (DAT) and Wabtec Bus Solutions. Prioritizing innovation, the common vision was to create a flagship product to push technology forward in the transit space that’s targeted to buses but can also be used on other products in the future.

“Millions of people interact with our products on buses every day. This is the first product across Wabtec's offerings to use AI to make real-time operational decisions that can impact the experience of each of these riders," says Ike Emelogu, Wabtec Bus’s Engineering Manager for Digital and New Product Development.

“VaporVision is a testament to Wabtec’s expertise in creating products using AI tools and infrastructure that have real-world applications,” said Ankit Mathur, Wabtec’s Senior Manager of Data Science and Applied Innovation. “It demonstrates the capability of solving challenges right from data capture, integrating with edge devices, IoT connectivity, model training and deployment to robust machine learning ops pipeline.”

AI models have to be trained with large amounts of real-world data to make intelligent future decisions. Currently, Wabtec is working with several transit bus partners to train and test the VaporVision system at several key trial locations and plans to make the final product available to all transit customers in 2025.


Riding the Wave of Tomorrow's Transit

VaporVision isn't just changing the bus transit game; it's rewriting the rules. Hop on board, fellow commuters—a smoother, safer, and more sophisticated transit journey lies ahead with the help of AI, deep learning, and Wabtec leading the way.

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