More safety for Shunting:
Gaze training with smart glasses

To prevent incidents in shunting yard operations, ÖBB (Austrian Federal Railways) trains its employees with the help of cutting-edge technology: The VPS 19 smart glasses use eye tracking to determine where employees are looking during the shunting process and whether they are distracted by disruptive factors. After a 15-month pilot phase, the “Augen:Blicke – Eyetrackertraining” project is the first training project with smart glasses to go into regular operation.

Background and task

Where wagons weighing many tons are coupled every day, the human factor is crucial: around 75 percent of all deviations in shunting have human causes. The job requires the utmost concentration from the employees. If they are distracted or overlook potential sources of danger, they jeopardize their safety on the tracks. Damage to equipment can also quickly run into the hundreds of thousands if trains are incorrectly coupled or signals are overlooked. The logical consequence for ÖBB was to improve training in shunting to raise the employees’ awareness of possible sources of danger and thus make work at the shunting stations safer.

For the pilot project, ÖBB moved the classroom onto the rails at eight shunting hubs (Bruck a.d. Mur, Graz, Hall in Tirol, Linz, Salzburg Gnigl, Villach South, Wels, Vienna). With the help of the VPS 19 smart glasses, the employees were trained under practical conditions in their normal working environment.


During training, the VPS 19 smart glasses record the field of view and pupil movements of the employees working in the shunting station. The practical trainer can follow their actions live via video stream. Thanks to the visualization of their gaze point, possible distractions or misjudgments can be identified live during streaming. Even more effective and precise analyses are made possible during the debriefing of the recorded video between trainer and employee. The visualization of the gaze patterns in the video provides information on where attention is focused and how workflows can be improved.

The video then remains with the employee as a personal training video. No other data is stored on the system.

“The safety of our employees in shunting operations is a top priority,” explains Florian Pfeffer, Head of Safety and Emergency Management at ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG, Operations Division. “The pilot project has shown that the training sessions with the eye tracking smart glasses have very positive learning effects and support our employees in performing safe shunting operations. Seeing one ‘s own gaze behavior visualized literally has an eye-opening effect on our employees. We are very pleased that we can now transfer the project into regular operation due to its success.“

The VPS 19 Smart Glasses were customized to the needs of the rail industry for the training. For example, a „live heat map“ function was added to the analysis software. This function determines and visualizes in real time which areas and objects attract the employee’s greatest attention and which are paid less attention.

„We are very proud to be able to support ÖBB in reaching a new level in incident prevention with our smart glasses,“ says Nils Berger, CEO of Viewpointsystem. „The successful pilot project shows that cutting-edge technology is particularly successful when it is precisely tailored to users and their needs. Simple, intuitive operation and a high level of wearing comfort are crucial to ensuring that the smart glasses are used with ease and comfort over a long period of time.“

Results at a glance:

  • Effective, individual employee training with the aim of reducing signal overruns in the shunting process
  • Positive learning effects: The employees’ self-awareness of what they perceive and what they do not perceive leads to a sustainable and positive learning experience
  • The VPS 19 smart glasses are perceived as comfortable and not disturbing or complex
  • Option to extend the eye tracking training to all Austrian shunting locations


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