A French company has a research project underway to develop a drone dedicated to the inspection of railway tunnels.
In 2018, nearly 150 workers died accidentally during tunnel inspections in the United States (US Bureau of Labor Statistics). These missions can indeed be very dangerous: low concentrations of oxygen, high concentrations of harmful gases, high temperatures, etc. For the technical staff who, perform these missions to not take risks, a French company, namely SEGULA Technologies, is currently developing a prototype drone that can perform autonomous inspections of power lines inside underground tunnels.
This drone for railway tunnel inspection will be able to record RGB and thermographic videos and collect information about environmental conditions in underground tunnels using on-board sensors. This will allow visual inspection technicians to carry out their work without having to go down into the tunnels, thus avoiding the inherent dangers.
Inspection of railway tunnels, easier
The thermographic camera will be able to detect potentially damaged hot spots on cables, and the RGB camera will be able to check for faults (breaks or cracks) in cables that may have overheated.
Engineers at SEGULA’s industrial division in Spain are currently working on identifying the project’s requirements and are starting to develop the drone’s software in parallel with creating the hardware diagram for the prototype.
The TOPONE project is one of more than 200 research and innovation projects carried out annually by SEGULA Technologies. It is carried out by the group’s Spanish teams with the help of CATEC and is funded by the Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI), part of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation.