Infrastructure Monitoring Pilot
Reliable transport infrastructure is one of the backbones of a prosperous economy, providing access to markets, jobs, and social services. Two main means of transport over land are road and rail transport. It is generally acknowledged that railways are a comparatively safe mode of transport. There are nonetheless each year many recorded safety critical accidents caused by derailments and collisions between trains and obstacles on or adjacent to the railway tracks, so rail operations could be made even more safe if the number of collisions could be reduced. Besides the more frequent obstacles such as people trespassing the railway tracks, particularly hazardous obstacles are consequence of geological and natural hazards such as landslides, flooding and extreme weather conditions causing railway bridges damages/collapses and blocking the rail tracks due to fallen trees.
As a result of developments of aerial and remote sensing technologies, in recent years, there has been a rapid expansion of R&D of railway infrastructure monitoring using these technologies. The possible benefits have been identified such as enormous economic advantage, cost reduction and safety increase and risk reduction to personnel, as no personnel walking along the line is required.
Only a spaceborne approach is able to monitor infrastructure continuously and at large-scale. Other means such as airborne-based solutions can allow high-precision monitoring of small regions-of-interest, yet they become too costly when scaling up to larger areas. Furthermore, the airborne solutions are prone to environmental conditions that impede their usage in severe weather conditions, which are usually a trigger for railway infrastructure damages and occurrence of obstacles on
the railroads that are envisioned to be detected by IIMEO technologies. The IIMEO service prototype will be used in relevant railway environment to demonstrate and validate the overall end-to-end service as it could be operational in space, as well as the near-real-time service operation.
The demonstration will be conducted with the involvement of the pilot end user – Infrastructure of Serbian Railways (ISR) – that will be a member of IIMEO Advisory Board as a stakeholder. Necessary regulatory approvals for airborne-based demonstration in real-world railway environment will be issued by ISR upon provision of all necessary documentation by IIMEO partner NIS. The procedure for assuring the regulatory approvals adopted and implemented by ISR and NIS in ongoing H2020 Shift2Rail Project SMART2, dealing with development of system for on-board autonomous obstacle detection in railways, will be followed in IIMEO. The IIMEO Airborne-demonstration scenarios will be defined in cooperation with ISR and they will
define the timing of the IIMEO flight campaign actions, service performance and acceptance criteria as well as position and the size of the obstacles which should be identified by IIMEO by anomaly and change detection algorithms. The acquisition of SAR and VIS data, as well as on-board processing will be performed during the airborne flight campaign in the same way as during the flight campaigns aimed at gathering of reference
data (WP2). The flight campaign aircraft will be equipped with communication system capable of real-time transmission of data to the IIMEO cloud-based service platform. A real-time transmission of pre-selected data with already existing infrastructure using wide-band data link or the LTE network is envisaged. To simulate instantaneous satellite-based service, for the duration of the aircraft’s flying over the demonstration railway location defined in the demonstration scenario, the pilot end user will issue a request for inspection of that part of the railway network.
The demonstration location, i.e. the part of the railway network under the management of pilot end-user, will be previously “prepared” by NIS so that obstacles defined in the demonstration scenarios, which should be detected by IIMEO services, will be brought to strategic pre-defined locations. Based on the issued request, the SAR and VIS data of the demonstration part of the railway network will be gathered, processed both on-board and off-board, and the processing results will be made available to the pilot end user ISR through the IIMEO service web-based interface. The performance of the service will be monitored during the execution of the demonstration and will be evaluated against the performance and acceptance criterias defined by the demonstration scenario.