Humatics Celebrates One-Year Anniversary of UWB-Based Positioning System Pilot, Accelerating MTA Signal Modernization


This month marks the one year anniversary since Humatics completed the installation of its Humatics Rail Navigation System with the Metropolitan Transit Authority. The MTA UWB Pilot involved ultra-wideband and communication-based train control functional testing in New York City on 5.5 miles of L Line track between Broadway Junction and Myrtle station in Brooklyn. Humatics’ deployment of 200 UWB beacons and three UWB-enabled trains have continued to operate and collect data. To date, Humatics’ equipment has surpassed 1.7 million cumulative hours of wayside operations with one single failure observed and have collected over 7 Terabytes of data. Humatics uses this data to continue to develop its industry-leading train positioning algorithms and improve its system for the betterment of not only the New York City subway ridership but for other transportation systems around the world.

MTA L Line Canarsie Line

The pilot milestone coincides with Eleanor Wilson, Principal Safety Engineer, and Deondre Randle, Customer Delivery Manager, joining Humatics to further cement the company’s commitment to improving transit systems with improved positioning technology.

Ultra-wideband technology locates where a train is on the track within one foot. By increasing positioning performance, the MTA can run trains closer together, increasing transport capacity during social distancing. The technology also enables a diversity of applications, from speeding up capital projects to helping improve worker safety on the tracks. With more than 1.7 million hours of UWB wayside operations throughout the MTA UWB pilot, Humatics’ technology withstood the punishing transit environment, while successfully passing communications-based train control (CBTC) functional testing.

“Today we are celebrating a significant milestone, having successfully delivered a high-precision positioning system that can transform subway performance, efficiency, and safety,” said David Mindell, CEO and Founder, Humatics. “Now more than ever, we need scalable solutions as New York City recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. We look forward to working with the MTA as we collectively work to modernize the city’s transit system.”

Beginning in March 2019, Humatics partnered with New York City Transit and Siemens to launch the first-ever UWB deployment for train control, outfitting 5.5 miles of track on the Canarsie Line in Brooklyn with UWB infrastructure and equipping four train cars with UWB and inertial positioning technology. The successful pilot proved that Humatics’ UWB-based rail navigation solution could meet all conditions to pursue safety certification across the system, is rugged enough to withstand the New York City transit environment, and can deliver a higher positioning precision allowing trains to run closer to each other.

Humatics also installed UWB technology on four revenue service trains: three were used to demonstrate the performance and reliability of its positioning system and the fourth demonstrated that humatics technology could provide navigation data for automatic train control operations. The three revenue trains uploaded their data to the cloud in real-time.

Key statistics and takeaways from the pilot include:

  • Design and installation completed in less than 5 months
  • Precision positioning within 1 foot
  • Successfully passed CBTC functional testing and
  • Met all NYCT environmental requirements
  • Accelerates train retrofits – outfitting a train within 4 days
  • Over 1.7 million cumulative hours of UWB wayside operations to date
  • Over 60,000 hours of train equipment operation
  • Over 7 terabytes of train navigation data collected

Specifically designed to address industrial localization challenges, Humatics UWB technology delivers unprecedented precision and range in mission-critical applications. Humatics UWB technology is easily integrated with other sensors fusing data from these systems to deliver highly accurate positioning that can be relied upon for safe train operations. All Humatics UWB technology is made in the United States.

Key advantages of UWB technology include:

Simple and inexpensive train installation and maintenance: installing Humatics UWB technology onto each train takes two days, compared to multiple weeks for traditional train control sensors. Humatics equipment does not need to be mounted underneath the train, reducing ongoing maintenance costs.

Environmental and climate resilience: Humatics UWB technology is proven to work in all weather conditions and mounts 4 – 5 feet off the ground, well above the track in support of resiliency efforts.

Continuous positioning throughout the entire subway system: beyond train control, UWB has the potential to provide a universal positioning system for other transit applications such as improving the efficiency of capital construction projects, enhancing worker protection, and serving as an emergency tracking system for improving worker and public safety.

Reduced equipment along the track: Humatics UWB technology has a range of 300 meters (985 feet) and requires less infrastructure to maintain position coverage and accuracy.