UAVOS Completed Project to Improve Railway Inspection Safety

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UAVOS Inc., an unmanned aircraft development company, has completed a railway utility inspection project with UAVOS' drones and photogrammetry/GIS software. UAVOS inspected over 3000 km of railway infrastructure including rails, power lines providing electricity to the trains, and other utilities in need of regular inspection and maintenance. The goal of the project was to apply unmanned inspection techniques to map railway infrastructure for an accurate visualization providing fast and precise potential damage identification and thus increasing workplace safety for railway employees. 

The railway infrastructure data collection has been conducted with UAVOS’ UVH 25EL electric power unmanned helicopter and Borey fixed-wing drone equipped with two different types of sensors:

  • LiDAR for a georeferenced 3D point cloud of the railway utilities creation;

  • Sony digital camera for 3D spatial data

Additionally, UAVOS conducted high volume data measurement management and combination of tachymetric surveying with aerial photographs and LiDAR data helped include it in the GIS base. 

First, terrestrial control measurements were performed to determine the measurement accuracy of the coordinates and heights of the reference geodetic networks. The accuracy of determining the coordinates and heights of the reference geodetic networks then allowed the creation of a precision 3D point cloud. The following aerial surveys were carried out and data processing was performed. The goal of the project was to analyze high accuracy spatial data and create a 3D line map from airborne digital photogrammetry. The high-precision aerial images allowed UAVOS team to identify the structural integrity, potential defects, such as broken insulators, and the pylons condition. 

Results and benefits for the railway company: 

  • 500,000 RGB images have been taken and huge amounts of defects have been found during the project;

  • a highly-accurate 3D spatial data has been created during post-processing for GIS; infrastructure data

  • inspection collection has led to dramatic cost reduction in the railway company's land lease due to the boundary specification of the land allotment. 

As a result, more precise railway utilities data has been collected compared to the traditional inspection; provided reports are easy to use by maintenance teams who conduct repair work, are meant to speed up the inspection process and to ensure its overall safety.

UAVOS’ electrical UVH-EL25 unmanned helicopter and Borey fixed-wing UAV are ideal for the railway infrastructure survey offering easy and safe aerial access to challenging areas, a larger surface coverage in a single flight, higher resolution images, efficient, and cost-effective aerial data acquisition.

Borey fixed-wing UAV with MTOW of 15 kg is capable of carrying up to 4 kg payload over 1 hour with a range of up to 220 km. The UVH-25EL unmanned helicopter has been specially designed for commercial use and data capturing applications using LiDAR system as an all-in-one 3D mapping device. Fully automatic, compact and lightweight UVH-25EL is equipped with an electric engine unit and features a flight endurance of up to 1.5 hours when mounted with a payload of 5 kg. 

“Railway companies have a strong interest in developing data systems to have a better overview of the infrastructure. Therefore, we were glad to complete a project with our great client to digitize the railway grid, thus improving inspection and maintenance“, comments Aliaksei Stratsilatau, CEO at UAVOS.

10 March 2022