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Kupe Project Steers ONTRACK To Engineering Success

Kupe Project Steers ONTRACK Into Engineering Success

A device that tracks the position of rail maintenance vehicles and suburban trains around the country from a Wellington-base was awarded the New Zealand Engineering Excellence Information & Communication Technology Award at TE PAPA in Wellington last night.

The winning project, the Kupe Mobile Controller is part of Project Kupe, initiated in April 2005 to use GPS tracking systems to tell Network Train Control where trains and track workers are and to improve mobile communications.

ONTRACK, the New Zealand Railways Corporation, searched the world for an off-the-shelf product, but when they couldn’t find one, they worked with Xworks of Te Awamutu to develop the Kupe Mobile Controller.

Described by judges as an excellent example of New Zealand engineering, 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.

“The controller is a versatile piece of equipment which can interface with different types of mobile radio”, said David Elms DistFIPENZ, Convenor of the Category Awards judging panel. “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”.

He says the controller is original, innovative and a sound and versatile piece of work which has contributed significantly New Zealand engineering’s reputation as well as to improving quality of life for track workers.

The third New Zealand Engineering Excellence Awards are the premier awards for New Zealand engineering professionals. The awards are presented in two major areas: Individual Awards, that recognise leadership, entrepreneurship, and our young engineers; and Category Awards, that recognise achievement in the various industry areas, together with a Supreme Award for the best of the Category winners.

The New Zealand Engineering Excellence Awards are hosted by a consortium of five partners and 10 contributing organisations. The partners are: Centre for Advanced Engineering (CAE); Association of Local Government Engineering New Zealand Incorporated (INGENIUM); Electricity Engineers Association of New Zealand (EEA); Association of Consulting Engineers New Zealand (ACENZ); and the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand Inc (IPENZ).


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