RADIUS Kick-off meeting

Feb 22, 2021

On January 14, 2021 took place the Kick-Off Meeting that marks the official start of the “Railway digitalisation using drones” or RADIUS Project, a 36-month Innovation Action that aims to develop and test the use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) to monitor and maintain railway signalling assets. The project has been awarded a grant under the ‘EGNSS applications fostering digitisation’ call (DT-SPACE-EGNSS-2-2019-2020), whose specific challenge is to promote the adoption of EGNSS and Galileo in mass markets, ensuring that users take advantage of the features and benefits provided by these European programmes.

The main objectives of RADIUS are to design the unmanned system that will be used, select the categories of assets to be monitored and the maintenance actions to be performed, integrate the RADIUS system into the current maintenance operations, taking advantage of the processing power of the existing Intelligent Asset Management Systems, interface with the Traffic Management System to reduce the impact of the system in the railway operations.

The project includes a planned demonstration of the developed prototype in a railway relevant environment, thus achieving a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 6, after completing an aviation risk assessment and a regulatory compliance analysis.

The RADIUS Project represents a very exciting challenge, as its aim is to ensure the best monitoring and maintenance actions using drone-based inspections that are integrated with IAMS and interface with TMS to guarantee the safety and quality standards that are expected on the railway system.

The melting of different know-how and the collaboration among different actors, such as Infrastructure Managers, Railway Technology suppliers, Drones, AI experts and Technology integrators will be the key of success due to the combination of different interests and professional backgrounds resulting in the capability to innovate the daily railway management activities and improve workers and passengers quality life.

Valentina Galli

RADIUS Project Coordinator

The project is coordinated by Hitachi Rail STS S.p.A. and includes in its consortium companies and organisations with proven expertise in the railway and unmanned aviation field such as Evoleo Technologies Lda, Zenabyte S.r.L., Aeorum España, S.L., EuroUSC España, S.L., EuroUSC Italia, S.p.A. and Infrastructuras de Portugal, S.A.

The outcome of the project will not only address the current challenges posed to railway infrastructure companies to adequately maintain their assets but will also pave the way for new applications of UAS in automated inspection and maintenance operations in other fields.

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