GE locomotives pull ahead with QNX

Sheer brute strength. That, to me, sums up a train locomotive. After all, how else do you haul 20 million pounds of freight up a mountain?

As it turns out, it takes more than raw horsepower. Case in point: the Evolution locomotives from GE. To my surprise, each Evolution locomotive employs 20 QNX-based Pentium-class systems to monitor and control the diesel engine, traction motors, compressors, battery chargers, radiator fans, and numerous other systems. According to an article in Design News, these systems “measure and check 2,500 to 5,000 parameters with data latency varying from tens of microseconds to tens of seconds, depending on the system…”

Why all the compute power? Because on its own, raw physical power doesn’t cut it. For instance, each axle on the locomotive uses a 1000 horsepower inverter to regulate torque and slippage. Too much slippage, and the wheel burns “through the rail in a hurry.”

Lots of horsepower, and lots of compute power to boot.

To learn more about these locomotives, check out the article here and the GE brochure here. To learn more about how QNX is used in control systems, check out the QNX industrial software platform webpage here.

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