Saturday, August 29, 2020

SVL: Silicon Valley Lines Remote Ops Session


Another socially distanced ops session at Silicon Valley Lines. Most of the engineers participated from home using our cab view camera cars, and there was only a skeleton crew in the layout room so that we can socially distance properly. 

The Dash-9 dummy unit leading train 215-1 has a camera in the nose, but only a very small battery, so we set it up to continuously charge the locomotive battery from a regular USB battery bank mounted in a well car. All our tunnels are sized for double stack container trains. The battery pack in the well car is slightly higher than that, but fits everywhere. Sometimes with less than a quarter inch of space to spare ...

I spent the day mostly in front of a screen tending to Internet, cameras, and remote engineers. I tried to play with the settings so that we could live stream the session to Youtube. However, I couldn't get a stable stream out, as the video conference with engineers, video processing of incoming streams, and recording the session overwhelmed my laptop. I ended up cutting back to the bare minimum serving only the remote engineers, no live stream, no recording. That worked but left me unsatisfied at the end of the session. More fine-tuning is needed along with a bigger Internet uplink.

We also recorded footage for an upcoming video about our approach to remote operations.

This was a long day, at times stressful, but a lot of fun.

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