Nicolas Pollet, SNCF talked us through how to effectively analyse UAV collected data in order to maximise value
The transportation network is complex, extensive and has specific strains in operations. Historically in rail, surveys are conducted by people and curative maintenance is based on human analysis and measuring.
However, asset management needs data and you must master the infrastructure value. Regulation, financial and social factors are of great importance when it comes to maintaining rail infrastructure. Pollet and SNCF believe that UAVs are a catalyst of revolution for the rail industry and infrastructure surveys. Now surveys can be conducted using data and we can now re position employees in the value chain. They can analyse instead and we can have better knowledge of the network using big data acquisition.
Data collection can be a global and continuous vision of the rail system. UAVs can give a complete 3D knowledge and history of the railway from instantaneous photography.
In order for UAVs to work in rail, the system needs to be integrated for railway needs, beginning with well defined applications and ending with mutual high value data.
So how have SNCF used UAVs? They collected data through lidar, photogrammetry and multi spectral imagery. They used a terrestrial digital model – orthography gives an immediate and open street map and vegetation analysis detect species. The data processing and collection was specific for GIS control. They combined the orthography and the terrestrial digital model to get a 3D view, mapping trees and plants to get complete information about trees you need to cut back from the track.
Pollet showed how they ran the survey down the rail line and how it picked up and highlighted in red vegetation that ran over into the rail path.
There is a long way to go with this system. Complexities lie in technology, regulation and human and social factors. UAVs are important for the industry but complex and difficult to implement now.
But as Peter Drucker said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
Find out what you missed at the Commercial UAV Show – visit the website www.terrapinn.com/uav