The frequent inspection of railway tracks is essential to ensure safe and efficient operation of trains. According to railways accidental statistics, major derailments may often happen due to human failure or infrequent and improper monitoring systems. For instance, if vegetation along the railway tracks is not managed well, encroachment of vegetation and even fallen leaves may pose a risk to the safe running of the railway and cause substantial delays or even accidents. In the UK, incidents caused by vegetation can cost the railway upward of £100 million in 2017.
StreamOwl has been selected in the 1st Open Call of the ESMERA project to provide a solution for aerial monitoring of railway tracks for vegetation management in the context of the 1st Open Call.
The EREVOS project will develop a UAV system for quick inspection and monitoring of vegetation growth within the boundaries of a railway system and the state of the boundary structure. The inspection drone operates in an autonomous unsupervised manner and is be able to follow a railway track for a large distance, inspect boundary structure and vegetation, detect and identify anomalies along the railway (objects, fallen trees/leaves, sun kinks, etc.),, and trigger further actions, on-the-fly, either through another drone with herbicides or through human operator’s intervention.
At the technology front, the navigation of a drone in an autonomous non-supervised manner, even in GPS-denied areas, involves a deep-learning computer vision algorithm with advanced image processing capabilities (via integrated cameras), adaptive route planning in the 3D space, adaptive routing decision based on advanced flying capabilities, including collision-avoidance, object detection and target proximity estimation.
EREVOS also develops a hexacopter with large payload to carry and apply herbicides using a targeted spraying system for the control of vegetation along the railway.