CSE498, Collaborative Design, Spring 2018
Computer Science and Engineering
Michigan State University

Union Pacific is a leading transportation company headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska. Union Pacific has over 8,500 locomotives running on 32,100 miles of track across 23 states with almost 43,000 employees.

Union Pacific currently provides access to scheduling information for trainmen, yardmen and enginemen (TY&E) employees by phone or web app. Employees are on call 24/7 and are assigned trains to work on through a revolving list of employees. Train schedules are frequently updated, so employees must always stay up to date.

Our custom Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa voice assistants provide Union Pacific TY&E employees hands-free access to their place in the list as well as up-to-date train schedules that they can listen to individually or in groups. Voice assistants provide a fast and flexible solution to access essential scheduling information.

Our system also keeps a detailed log of every employee interaction with the assistants. These logs are viewable through our companion web app that enables managers to monitor the application’s usage statistics and to filter the logs to see individual assistant or user statistics.

Alexa uses the Amazon Developer Console and Google Assistant uses DialogFlow to map dialogs. Each voice assistant sends HTTPS requests to a NodeJS web URL, which calls a Java web service that accesses a MySQL database and returns a response. Our web app is implemented with HTML5, CSS and JavaScript.