Human machine interfaces (HMI) are finding their way into countless sectors, including rail transit and other forms of public transportation. As you may already know, an HMI is essentially an interface through which a human operator controls a machine. Not to be confused with a user interface, which isn’t restricted to a single machine or device, HMIs have become influential in shaping modern technology. They generally work in conjunction with a graphic user interface, allowing the operator to input commands and subsequently control the connected device or machine. So, how exactly are HMIs being in rail transit?
One common application for HMIs in rail transit involves door operation. If you’ve ever traveled via the subway system, you’re probably well aware of how the doors operate: normally, they open and close automatically at specific times. When the doors open, passengers who’ve reached their destination can get off while those who’re looking to travel get on the subway. This has long been the de-facto standard of door operation. With the introduction of HMIs, however, that may soon change.
Several rain systems throughout North America and elsewhere are being fitted with HMIs for the purpose of improving their door operation. Instead of using an automatic system to open and close the doors, the HMI will focus on passenger-actuated doors. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, however, given the fact that such doors are already being used in European marketers, where they’ve been well received among travelers.
“The days of simultaneous door operation systems on passenger rail systems are fading away. Human Machine Interface (HMI) control systems have evolved into the most common area for passenger interaction, therefore requiring them to be reliable, intuitive, and easy-to-use,” explained Mass Transit Magazine.
Door operations is just one of the many ways in which HMIs are being used in rail transit. According to Mouser, HMIs are also being used as control systems for trail transit cars. Such systems may consists of communication, navigation, engine controls, power distribution, lighting, security, alarms and more, all of which are conveniently bundled into a single HMI.
So, where is the HMI market headed from here? Analysts predict a healthy and thriving market for HMIs. While the technology will likely reshape the rail transit sector, it’s still in the early stages of being rolled out. Therefore, it may take some time before we see HMIs being used in railways. Nonetheless, it’s safe to say that HMIs are here to stay.