Global infrastructure group Balfour Beatty has opened a Rail Innovation Centre at its Raynesway facility in Derby in the UK.

Spanning over an area of 450m2, the purpose-built centre will concentrate on Balfour Beatty’s latest developments in measurement systems, predict and prevent technology, signalling and data science.

The testing hub will bring together the company’s expertise in systems engineering, computer science, robotics, data analytics, electronics and electrical & mechanical engineering.

The Rail Innovation Centre will house more than 150 technicians, engineers, data scientists and developers with an expertise in the design, operation and maintenance of the railway.

The facility will also feature Balfour Beatty’s products and software technologies such as TrueTrak, OmniVision, OmniSurveyor3D, OmniCapture3D, DataMap and AssetView.

“The Rail Innovation Centre is at the heart of Balfour Beatty’s technology offering with the specific purpose of driving efficiencies and safety across the rail network.”

The British infrastructure group believes that the use of artificial intelligence, including ‘machine learning’ & ‘machine vision’ systems and robot testing, will support remote and high-speed testing of rail infrastructure in a controlled environment.

Balfour Beatty rail and utilities CEO Mark Bullock said: “Digital technologies are rapidly changing the rail industry, bringing new efficiencies and presenting new opportunities.

“The Rail Innovation Centre is at the heart of Balfour Beatty’s technology offering with the specific purpose of driving efficiencies and safety across the rail network for those who work on the railway and ultimately the travelling public.”

The centre will help Balfour Beatty grow and maintain its graduate and technical talent pool, as well as allow cooperation and knowledge sharing with various stakeholders and industry partners. This, in turn, will boost Balfour Beatty’s relationships with the data science community and further mutually beneficial links with universities.