SNCF experiment drones on its network from early 2013. After inspection of the structures, the railway company wants to generalize the use of drone to monitor its 30,000 km of railways. The goal is to identify potential thieves of copper, those cables that cost a fortune to SNCF and totally disrupt the movement of trains by their misdeeds. To go beyond simple experiments, the SNCF should succeed to maximally automate flights by drones over his ways, reason for which she now turned to researchers at ONERA.
ONERA is working on drones for 15 years
The Office national d’Etudes et de recherches aérospatiales (ONERA), is the Manager of the largest park in wind tunnels in Europe, but most only. They are also leading researchers in terms of development of software for simulation and also software for UAVs. ONERA now works on the subject of drones for 15 years and has notably developed the RESSAC helicopter drone.
The research agreement between SNCF and ONERA deals with an investment of more than EUR 4 million over 5 years. THE SNCF wants that researchers are developing algorithms of automatic tracking of linear for this task of monitoring of the tracks and overhead lines. They will also develop algorithms to allow drones to engage in works of art and facilities inspections, starting with the stations, their canopies, their metal structures and trains. Drones racing of graffiti along the sidings, it is coming soon.
With their 3D Scan technology, researchers at ONERA already have algorithms allowing a drone to map its environment in real time. It will have to adapt their technologies to the needs of the SNCF.
Translation : Bing Translator
Source : “Drones et réseau ferré : une recherche appliquée qui prend son envol”, Communiqué de presse ONERA, 20 février 2015