MoU aims to improve rail transport in Hong Kong

  • June 26, 2023
  • Steve Rogerson
From the left, Denis Yip, Astri COO David Chan, MTR engineering chief Chan Hing-keung and, on the screen, Tony Lee.

Hong Kong public transport operator MTR has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the city’s Applied Science & Technology Research Institute (Astri) to develop smart railway operations management and provide intelligent maintenance.

MTR will provide an additional HK$20m to deepen the collaboration between the two parties.

The MoU establishes a framework for exploring innovations and technology applications. With Astri’s research and development and experience in communication technology, artificial intelligence (AI), IoT and data analytics, the collaboration could help enhance the performance and efficiency of MTR’s railway operations and intelligent maintenance.

Since 2021, MTR has allocated approximately HK$50m on collaboration projects with Astri. Multiple contracts and projects have commenced, including the use of precise automatic optical inspection technology to monitor railway safety, joint research and development of a portable escalator gap clearance inspection tool, and application of a digital twin for enhancing the operation efficiency of maintenance centres.

In the future, MTR and Astri will jointly research, develop and apply technologies such as IoT, AI and data analysis to build a smarter railway system.

“MTR has always spared no effort in applying technology to improve operational and management performance and has been striving for excellence to provide safe and reliable railway services to passengers,” said Tony Lee, operations director of MTR. “Astri has been our close partner for many years, helping us improve our operational and management efficiency with innovations. We look forward to working with Astri’s experts to contribute to industry-academic-research collaboration and facilitate the development of Hong Kong’s smart railways.”

Denis Yip, CEO of Astri, added: “MTR is closely related to the daily lives of the public. Astri is pleased to establish a close cooperative relationship with MTR to develop an intelligent railway using various advanced technologies, including artificial intelligence, big data, internet of things, digital twin, optical inspections and more. Intelligent railway service is an important part of building an international smart city. We believe that this collaboration can bring epoch-making breakthroughs to smart mobility technology in Hong Kong, continuously providing passengers with better travel experience and services and empowering smart living with technology.”

MTR actively cooperates with research institutions, universities and start-ups, hoping to promote smart railway services and operations while contributing to local scientific research to keep Hong Kong moving. Committed to making Hong Kong an international smart city, Astri supports improvements of the innovation and technology ecosystem, and promotes cooperation among government, industry, academia and research sectors to transform technology into practical applications, providing the public with intelligent living and business environments.