The Research Council of Norway awarded a contract worth US$ 399.5 million (NKr 4bn) to the consortium of Bane Nor and Norwegian Computing Centre to conduct a trial using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to undertake track inspection system.
The Computing Centre will supply and develop machine learning and AI technology Through the Image Analysis Railway Infrastructure (IARI) project and Bane Nor will fed images and videos.
Jørgen Matheson Torgersen, Head of S&C Software Bane, NOR Bane Nor, said: The solution will make it possible to inspect and analyse the railway infrastructure in a fast, secure, and objective manner without stopping traffic. Pictures and videos from measuring trains, passenger trains, work machines, and drones in addition to fixed-mounted cameras, which Bane Nor has already installed, are examples of areas where automated image analysis can be useful.
According to the contract, the Image Analysis Railway Infrastructure project will develop a system to inspect and monitor key components including track, switches, and overhead contact lines, using camera-based data capture and automatic image analysis. This will enable more frequent and faster inspections without delaying services.
Sverre Kjenne, executive vice-president of digitalisation and technology at Bane Nor, said: The use of modern technology such as AI and machine learning in traditional businesses such as railways is important to meet future transport needs. The railway is being developed and digitized to provide a better service for most people. We are grateful for the support from the Norwegian Research Council and proud that they are investing in this project.
The project will also focus on adapting existing general deep learning-based algorithms for rail uses and training these algorithms to recognise relevant errors and nonconformities. The system is expected to increase the number of faults detected, and enable earlier detection, with this increased workload equalling the reduction in inspection work carried out, reported Rail Journal.