Penn State Altoona students will use equipment loaned by Ondas Network Inc. to support new undergraduate research in Rail Transportation Engineering (RTE) and Safety and Risk Analysis (SRA).
Ondas Networks Inc. and American Robotics are subsidiaries of Ondas Holding, a leading provider of private wireless, drone and automated data solutions. Students will use Ondas’ IEEE 802.16 standards-based communications platform to experiment with various frequency, capacity, and modulation schemes, in addition to testing advanced network security configurations for Class 1 rails. The research objective is to model secure and reliable communication networks suitable for deployment on freight and passenger rail networks worldwide.
Penn State Altoona’s RTE program, the only one of its kind in the nation, was created in 2009 with an initial grant from the Norfolk Southern Foundation at the request of railroad and transit leaders who highlighted the need for more education and training.
“As railroads become increasingly dependent on communication as part of their business operations, they are relying more on their data networks,” says Stephen Dillen, assistant professor of electrical engineering education. “The Ondas radio platform is designed to optimize network bandwidth. Through this research, RTE students will be exposed to the latest cutting-edge communication technologies.
To provide wider exposure to railway communications technology, the research project will produce a series of laboratory exercises to be incorporated into the Communications and Signaling curriculum of the RTE programme. This world-class undergraduate research will be made available to railways and other industries with similar communication needs. “Just last week, Ondas announced rail industry support for a major rail lab at Ondas headquarters in Sunnyvale, California. We felt it was important to ensure that research continues at the university level, including exposing future rail industry leaders to next-generation communication systems through our support of this research project,” said Eric Brock, Chairman and CEO of Ondas Holdings.
“We are excited to work with Ondas to advance railroad communications technology,” said Corey Gracie-Griffin, associate dean of research at Penn State Altoona. “Our RTE faculty regularly engage industry partners to conduct research and expose our students to practical opportunities to develop the skills they will need to succeed in their careers.”
Students will begin research projects in spring 2022.