George Town, 2 October 2018 – A computer science student from UOW Malaysia KDU Penang University College stunned the Europe railway industry when he and his team mates devised a way to use voice-controlled technology to manage train and rail services.
Along with team mates from Germany, Poland, Lithuania and Nepal, UOW Malaysia KDU Penang student Sriram Ramasamy won the first runner-up prize in an intense hackathon in Berlin, Germany, called HackTrain, from September 18 to 21.
They conceived a prototype utilizing Amazon Alexa, using the AI’s voice-recognition technology to operate train and rail services. Sriram and his team pitched their Alexa-based system to over 140,000 attendees’ in HackTrain, an event powered by InnoTrans and supported by headline partners, Deutsche Bahn, the largest railway operator and infrastructure owners in Europe. Other sponsors and partners include: Network Rail, Siemens, Fujitsu, ORM, SBB and the UK’s Department for Transport.
“The participants were required to solve the challenges faced by Europe’s trains and rail services using real prototype and datasets.” said Dr. S. Gomesh Nair, head of the Centre for Research and Innovation at UOW Malaysia KDU Penang.
“The problem that the team identified in this industry is the difficulties of accessing train standards during times of need as there are tons of procedures and standards to comply with. The concept introduced by the team can help with requesting the documents and files by simply voicing the requests. The system will have access to the relevant documents and deliver them to the user in a shorter time,” explained Dr. Gomesh Nair.
He said the software can save a lot of time and procedures to process documents which are in need of human intervention to sort. Sriram, who joined various hackathons before this, had the advantage of tinkering with voice recognition technology in the past to solve problems.
“I am proud of Sriram’s achievement in the competition and hope that he can achieve more in the future.” said Dr. Gomesh Nair.
He added that UOW Malaysia KDU Penang students have a track record of excelling in international computer science competitions and he looked forward to opportunities for the students to collaborate with industries when UOW Malaysia KDU Penang’s flagship campus in Metropolis Batu Kawan is ready by 2020.
“The hacktrain in Berlin was organized by people in the industry. With our new campus being so close to Batu Kawan Industrial Estate, I am certain our students will have many chances to interact with industry partners in real world projects,” he said.