Robotics involves the design, manufacture, and use of robots to perform tasks generally done by human beings. It is being increasingly used across multiple industries, including railways, to improve efficiency and prevent errors that generally occur in processes involving humans. 

Increasing focus on efficiency and safety is one of the factors responsible for the growing interest in the implementation of robotics in the railway industry. 

As a disruptive force, robotics can play a key role in revolutionising multiple areas of railways, including operations and infrastructure management. 

Discover the leading robotics companies in the railway industry 

Using its experience in the sector, Railway Technology has listed some of the leading companies providing products and services related to robotics. 

The information provided in the download document is drafted for railway executives and technology leaders involved in rail robotics solutions. 

The download contains detailed information on suppliers and their product offerings, alongside contact details to aid purchasing or hiring decisions.

Related Buyer’s Guides which cover an extensive range of railway manufacturers, suppliers and solutions, can also be found here.

Applications of robotics in railways 

Rolling stock maintenance and cleaning 

With the expansion of railway fleets and the rising cost of maintenance, railway owners and operators are adopting advanced technologies such as robotics as a cost-effective means to provide reliable and safe services. 

Robots can be employed in rolling stock maintenance tasks such as the transmission fluid changing process. They can reduce dependence on human workers at maintenance depots, protecting them from potential risks such as damp environments close to high voltage overhead power lines and other workplace hazards.  

Fitted with wheels and cameras, robots can also be used to inspect trains at maintenance depots to detect faults so that they can be fixed before returning to passenger service after maintenance.  

Robots can be used to clean trains as they can reach hard-to-reach areas such as under seats, helping to increase the overall standard of cleanliness on trains. 

Besides the ease of cleaning, robots can deliver the service in an efficient manner. They can perform the task in less time than humans while reducing the exposure of human cleaners to hazardous waste. 

Furthermore, these machines can be deployed to automatically disinfect passenger coaches to enhance hygiene and passenger safety. 

Track maintenance and inspection 

Lack of proper maintenance and repair of railway tracks has been one of the major causes of train accidents. As a result, effective maintenance of track infrastructure is of paramount importance for safe rail operations. However, track maintenance workers are vulnerable to risks such as extreme weather conditions, trains travelling at high speeds on adjacent tracks, and live power transmission lines near the work site. Robotics and automation systems can reduce the risk to technicians and minimise accidents. 

Autonomous trains 

Future technologies such as autonomous trains can be one of the possible solutions to reduce the pressure on public transportation and solve the challenges of urban mobility. 

Autonomous trains will be able to provide benefits, including additional network capacity, reduced energy consumption, and improved obstacle detection and operational costs.