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Professional Competence and Industry Experience Meet Passenger Information System Development Challenges


Modern urbanites enjoy convenient metro systems and easy access to both scheduled and real-time travel information when commuting between destinations. Despite this, most commuters do not realize that on-board passenger information systems (PIS) are the key to safe and reliable metro services. Likewise, PIS enable travelers to plan their journey with confidence and provide real-time guidance during delays in the form of route maps, delay notifications, and door indicators. As such, metro authorities around the world have established strict standards that ensure PIS supply continuation, quality, and reliability.

Winning strategies: In-depth experience, agile product development capabilities, and long-term warranty and continuous supply

A leading Japanese audio and video equipment supplier recently received an end-of-life (EoL) announcement for a stretched bar LCD display. This display was used as the reference design for a solution sold to a metro railway company in India. Consequently, the Japanese contractor needed to source an alternative solution that fulfilled specific sale criteria within the project’s development timeline.

This alternative LCD panel needed to adhere to predetermined dimensions and technical elements decided during the original reference design. It required the same dimensions and I/O interfaces; and had to be capable of receiving and processing real-time commands from 3rd party LCD controller units. Congruously, it had to comply with EN 50155 and other international standards for equipment intended for use in rolling stock. This combination of criteria created unique challenges for both LCD suppliers and leading global vendors.

Advantech, a renowned global rolling stock solution supplier, was selected due to their extensive experience with on-board systems, agile product development capabilities, and long-term warranty and supply continuation. Advantech quickly provided a custom-made 37-inch LCD panel with 1920x268 pixel resolution. This panel, paired with a development plan for new, built-in microcontroller (MCU) boards, was presented to the Japanese contractor in no time.

Professional competence and a strong global supply chain expedites the project

A number of custom-made PIS panels, including one VGA splitter and one LCD controller unit, were installed in every passenger car in accordance with the layout of the metro trains. These transfer data packages with customer defined communication protocols and commands through customized RS-485 ports to the PIS where they are processed by the newly developed, built-in MCU board. This in turn enables the display of real-time travel information — including dynamic route maps with color-coded routes, information regarding present/approaching stations, and real-time arrival times — to be displayed on PIS panels, and supports LCD parameter adjustment request execution. These customized LCD panels provide passengers with a more comfortable viewing experience by dynamically adjusting backlight's brightness according to ambient light conditions.

Advantech’s professional competence and extensive rolling stock application experience reduced the explanation required of the Japanese contractor. Indeed, Advantech’s knowledge of EN 50155 regulations and experience in providing harsh environment solutions saved them a lot of time.

Likewise, Advantech’s robust global supply chain and logistics capabilities helped accelerate the project. In the end, the customized LCD panel and MCU board with customer defined communication protocols were developed within the Japanese contractor’s budget and timeline. This, in turn, enabled the Japanese contractor to fulfill the Indian metro railway company’s criteria.

System Diagram