High speed wireless video for Mumbai's subway

Thales Portugal enlists wireless tech company Firetide for a challenging surveillance project

The first phase of the wirelessly connected IP video system will place between 130 and 150 of Firetide's outdoor wireless mesh nodes along the new elevated tracks, plus a number of nodes for the trains themselves. Firetide's CEO Bo Larsson called the project "groundbreaking," and Coffman herself noted that projects like these are only now starting to appear on technologists' radars. She noted that a similar design could be applied to bus systems, but that bus projects would likely be more involved and expensive since bus routes cover wider and more varied areas than a fixed train track.

Mumbai, which is considered India's financial center, began the addition to its metro system in 2006 and the new metro train lines are set to be operation in 2011. The first phase is an elevated transit system (the wireless design also works below ground, as in Seoul) in Mumbai's urban areas that will be much more modern than the existing system. It will feature conveniences like air conditioning in the train cars. Part of the reasoning behind the real-time video surveillance project is believed to be the terror attacks that have occurred in the city. The most notable terror attacks were the 2008 attacks, which was series of coordinated terror attacks at different locations in the city conducted by Muslim terrorists from neighboring Pakistan. More than 170 person were killed and more than 300 were injured in the 2008 attacks.

Terrorism has held a strong presence in Mumbai, dating back to 1993 when a series of bombings targeted the city. In July 2006, terrorists targeted Mumbai's suburban rail system; those train bombings left 209 persons dead and more than 700 were injured. Train attacks were not new to Mumbai in 2006. Just three years earlier, the Mulund station of Mumbai's train system was bombed. That incident killed 10 and injured 70.

Details on the cost of the project and which camera/recorder vendors had been selected are not yet available.