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Artificial intelligence for track inspection

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MITMA Group engineering and consultancy has designed a new visual inspection device for railway track maintenance. The Graphical Inspection of Apparatus and Track Device (in Spanish, DIGAV - Dispositivo de Inspección Gráfica de Aparatos y Vía) allows, through the use of artificial intelligence and specific algorithms for the automatic identification, detection and evaluation of defects.

This device has seven cameras, in addition to three stereoscopic cameras, which allow the generation of 3D models. From the information collected by these devices it is possible to visualise the rail from all angles, as well as to perform measurements on the generated models. All this collected information represents a qualitative increase when evaluating the condition of the track since it allows, for example, to see in detail the web of the track, which is not possible with other on-board equipment that only takes/captures zenithal information of the track body.

Thanks to the analytical processes, based on artificial intelligence and image processing algorithms, it is possible to process all the information collected and automatically detect defects such as the lack of an asset, its correct position, the automatic inventory of assets or the evaluation of the ballast shoulder.

All the information collected is stored in the servers allowing its evaluation and analysis and opening the possibility of the development of predictive maintenance models or the generation of digital twins.

In addition, thanks to its continuous shooting system, this prototype makes it possible to increase the inspection speed to 3.5 km/h, which reduces the duration of track runs by 30-40% (in an area of 200 km of double track we would go from the current ten weeks to less than seven weeks) and generates an increase in the quality of graphic and analytical data collection that does not depend on the human factor.

Toledo hosts the first tests of this pilot project

The president of Ineco, Sergio Vázquez Torrón, participated in a demonstration of this prototype at the High-Speed maintenance base in Villarrubia de Santiago (Toledo), where he also met with more than 60 of the company's professionals working in Castilla-La Mancha. A multidisciplinary team that carries out fifteen projects for the development, operation and maintenance of the Spanish railway network.

The pilot project has been developed by a mixed team of professionals with expertise in maintenance and Smart Products based on an internal innovation idea detected through the annual calls for proposals made by Ineco. This combined know-how has made it possible to combine experience in railway track monitoring with state-of-the-art robotisation technology in a single product.

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