Railway device wins engineering excellence award

Another locally developed GPS device hits the mark

A GPS tracking device developed by a Te Awamutu company was awarded the New Zealand Engineering Excellence Information & Communication Technology Award in Wellington last night.

The Kupe Mobile Controller, which tracks the position of rail maintenance vehicles and suburban trains, is part of Project Kupe, initiated in April 2005 to use GPS tracking systems to tell controllers where trains and track workers are and to improve mobile communications.

Ontrack searched for an off-the-shelf product, but couldn’t find one and then worked with Xworks of Te Awamutu to develop the device.

The Kupe Mobile Controller interfaces with a GPS receiver and sends information either by a cellular network or, where cellphone coverage is lost, via the Ontrack radio network.

“It is entirely a black box, with its software configured remotely through a central server. It was developed and largely manufactured in New Zealand primarily because there was no equivalent product available off-the-shelf anywhere in the world. It was produced on time and under budget," says David Elms, convenor of the category judging panel.

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