Railways and Information Systems


IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Communications   Vol.E83-B    No.5    pp.880-884
Publication Date: 2000/05/25
Online ISSN: 
Print ISSN: 0916-8516
Type of Manuscript: Special Section INVITED PAPER (IEICE/IEEE Joint Special Issue on Autonomous Decentralized Systems)
railway,  signaling,  COMTRAC,  COSMOS,  ATOS,  

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In December 1996, JR East introduced "ATOS" the latest Autonomous Decentralized System, on its Chuo Line. This system, named after Athos, the mountain which is sacred to the Greek Orthodox Church, is considered as a sanctuary of the railway technology in the current information society. ATOS or the Autonomous Decentralized System is not only an application, on a huge scale, of the concept of an epoch making network computing to the downsizing, but is also highly innovative in terms of the diversity and complexity of the technology applied, of its capacity for expansion, and of its complementary functions. The system not only controls the day-to-day operation of 6,200 trains over 1,100 kilometers of track, delivering information which is essential to the company's passengers and work force, but also serves as a safety system covering maintenance work, including track repairs and the inspection of electrical facilities. Total investment in ATOS is expected to reach $360 million. This railway operation control system, which is a comprehensively revamped version of the CTC system used on many lines including the Shinkansen, is a digital application of analog technology at its best. It is among the most sophisticated and interesting applications of an autonomous decentralized system in the industry.