In a first, Indian Railways begins using drones for track surveillance

Patna: In what is being considered as the biggest technical initiative by the Indian Railways, specially designed drones will be deployed to ensure safety on trains.

The drones, designed by engineers from Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, will be used to monitor railway tracks, projects and other infrastructure.

According to railway board sources, a pilot project to test the drones has already begun in parts of Uttarakhand and the drones will soon be tested in northeastern states like Bihar.

Unmanned aerial drones can prove extremely effective in knowing the conditions of the tracks, especially during bad weather and in remote geographical locations. Most train accidents are caused by human error or due to negligence in monitoring the tracks. The drones, providing fresh data and images, will help decrease these numbers.

How will the drone work?

According to a railway official, data from the drone is translated using Artificial Intelligence. In the pilot project, IIT-Roorkee has analysed gauge distance (distance between the two railway tracks) from the pictures captured by the drones using various computer vision and image processing techniques. Apart from this, railway tracks and sleepers, etc, are also being examined. It is proving to be very accurate and reliable in finding faults or defects in the railway tracks in the investigation so far, he added.

(Story by Alok Kumar)