The Roads and Transport Authority of Dubai (RTA) plans to trial using drones to inspect the Dubai Metro tunnels on the Red and Green Lines.

The tunnels on both the lines span a length of over 14km.

Drones are capable of offering a quick and precise inspection of the asset condition. It expects drone use cut down inspection time, improve the accessibility of difficult spots and offer highly accurate reports regarding the tunnels’ condition.

RTA Board of Executive Directors chairman and director-general Mattar Mohammed Al Tayer said: “This initiative, which is in line with Smart Dubai Strategy 2021, uses custom-made drones fitted with multiple cameras enabling pictorial monitoring of tunnels via high-definition lenses.

“It also enables the inspection of tunnel walls through infrared radiation. The technology generates instant reports easing the assessment of the condition of assets, monitoring the maintenance works and detecting faults.

“The process is linked with RTA’s Maintenance Department, and provides a paperless digital inspection platform that curbs potential human errors.”

Al Tayer made the announcement during his visit to the Dubai Metro Depot. He also reviewed the progress of various initiatives undertaken by the Dubai Metro.

One such project is the use of nanotechnology at the Metro’s Noor Bank Station, which has decreased the cost of cleaning the station exterior by 35%. It has lead to a lower frequency of cleaning and maintenance and improved the front-end and floor protection of stations and trains. It also improved floor resistance, brought about self-cleaning and increased thermal insulation characteristics.

RTA will also equip Dubai Metro with onboard smart screens for passenger information and ads and automated hi-tech fare gates to streamline passengers flow and boost security and safety in a bid to digitalise the operations.

The company is Dubai’s first government organisation that uses smart storage system at Dubai Metro. This has led to a 700% increase in storage capacity and a 50% increase in operational efficiency.