Project Radius

Welcome to the future of railway signalling asset monitoring and maintenance using drones

The railway maintenance challenge

There is currently no optimal solution to inspect, monitor and maintain railway signalling assets

Human inspection

Human inspection activities are highly demanding in terms of costs and operational constraints (tracks being inspected have to be closed or limited) and impose safety concerns

Wired solutions

Very expensive and prone to failures. Cables have to be maintained, increasing the maintenance burden. Limited bandwidth of the solution implies that only a limited number of features can be monitored

Diagnostic trains

Diagnostic trains run at lower speed than commercial trains impacting track capacity. Trains and their monitoring equipment are complex equipment that require high investments and operational costs

That is why RADIUS proposes a completely new paradigm

The RADIUS approach

RADIUS will design, develop, test and demonstrate a complete monitoring and maintenance system using unmanned aerial systems (UAS)

UAS Design

  • Define and integrate the sensors required to collect and process the relevant data
  • Establish a secure communication between the UAS and the communication node of the asset being monitored using wireless technology for contact-less diagnostic and software maintenance/update
  • Implement a enhanced navigation solution using EGNOS (SBAS) and Galileo to provide accurate and safe navigation positioning

Adaptation or redesign of signalling assets

  • Analyse assets most affected by low Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) to define new design requirements to maximize inspection by UAS
  • Determine the maintenance actions with a high frequency that can be carried out by UAS
  • Design a docking station to couple the UAS with signalling assets and recharge its batteries

Interaction with IAMS and TMS

  • Guarantee a seamless integration of RADIUS with current railway maintenance operations
  • Optimise the processing power in the RADIUS system (UA and ground station) by using the off-line processing power of Intelligent Asset Management Systems (IAMS)
  • Interface with the current Traffic Management System (TMS) to integrate UAS flights with commercial train traffic

Practical demo

  • Perform an aviation risk safety assessment for Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations
  • Ensure regulation compliance (aviation and railroad related)
  • Conduct a practical demonstration of the proposed solution in a railway relevant environment (TRL 6)

RADIUS benefits

More frequent inspections

Increasing the frequency of inspections means that preventive measures that increase the life span of signalling assets can be used

Cost reduction

The RADIUS system will be easier to use and will reduce the initial investment and the running costs to maintain railway infrastructures

Safety increase

RADIUS will increase the safety of the maintenance operations and also the operational safety of the railways

New business models

The RADIUS concept can be extended to other activities and markets creating new service provision business models