Thursday, December 31, 2015

What if Remote Control Fails?

The year 2015 is almost over ... here in Karlsruhe (Germany) we are just 13 h and 13 min away from 2016. Have you looked back to the many lucky and bad situations you have experienced or you have seen during the year 2015?

I guess we all understand that we need more serious engineers that take care of the many processes and systems we need in our modern life. Our generation sees a lot of good solutions going away ... replaced by modern technologies. There is a need to use more communication systems to keep the lights on, the grass green and the sky blue.

Volkswagen has demonstrated that adaptive closed loop control can take the situation (in which a car is) into account and react in different directions - to the good of the company and share holders ... not to the good of the environment.

I have just seen what happens, when a control system does not take the situation into account: The locomotive at the end of a long multiple unit train did not stop pushing when the driver of the leading locomotive decided to stop. The wireless communication to carry the stop-command via a radio channel failed to reach the control system of the locomotive at the end of train.

Click HERE to see how the spinning wheel dug into the tracks ... for hours I guess. The control system did not check the speed which was zero for hours and did not automatically stop the wheels spinning. Obviously there was a use-case that was not taken into account: What to do when the stop command does not make it through to the locomotive at the end of the train?

At the door steps to 2016 I wish everybody reading this post a successful year 2016 ... helping to keep the power flowing.

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