Indian Railways is set to deploy drone cameras (UAV / NETRA) to monitor various railway activities such as track and infrastructure maintenance works in a bid to increase operational safety and overall efficiency.
The company has enlisted Zonal Railways to procure new drone camera systems under the initiative.
The unmanned aerial vehicles can be remotely controlled and connected with the GPS systems.
Indian Railways intends to use the cameras to monitor relief activities and rescue operations, inspect track conditions and survey the progress of important developments and projects.
The company also plans to use the drones to evaluate the preparedness of non-interlocking (NI) works and crowd management, as well as identifying scrap and conducting aerial survey of station yards.
The drones are noted to be effective in providing real-time information regarding safety, as well as for the maintenance of tracks and associated railway infrastructure.
Indian Railways zone West Central Railways (WCR) has already conducted a trial-run of the drones across all of its three divisions.
The trials were conducted at Jabalpur Division, Bhopal Division and Kota Division.
In addition, WCR is expected to use drones to monitor third-line project work for the Bina-Katni development, doubling work in Katni-Singrouli and various other important bridge inspection operations.
India’s Ministry of Railways previously announced plans last week to work with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to implement a real-time train information zystem (RTIS), which will track the train via GPS / GPS-aided geo-augmented navigation system (GAGAN) based devices on-board the locomotives.
Phase-I of the project will see approximately 2,700 electric locomotives equipped with GPS devices and is expected to be completed by December this year.