GUWAHATI, April 3 - The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) will further expand the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, for carrying out various surveys and to monitor safety of train operations.
�There are plans to further expand the use of drones. They are planned to be used for carrying out Final Location Surveys in construction projects and also for monitoring safety of train operations. This, however, is under trial,� Pranav Jyoti Sharma, Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO) of the NF Railway, told The Assam Tribune today.
It is noteworthy that the Maligaon-headquartered NFR had recently started using drones for inspection of bridges through cameras mounted in the UAVs.
�The work has been outsourced to an agency with expertise in drone operation and inspection and work is done under the supervision of bridge engineers of the railways. The number of drones used depends on the complexity of the bridge and site condition,� he said.
Sharma said that NFR has the most diverse and complex terrain among all the zones under the Indian Railways with large numbers of water channels crisscrossing the railway alignment.
�Even if drones are being used by the West Central Railway, here in NFR the work would be most extensive. The drone-mounted cameras are programmed to give real-time feed and high-resolution photographs of all the structural members of the bridge, including the riveting arrangements and the bearings of the bridge,� said the NFR CPRO.
He said that complicated bridge sections, corners and bends which are otherwise inaccessible for manual inspection can be inspected in detail with photographs provided by the drone cameras.
�Bridge inspections have to be carried out under running traffic, which is often unsafe in the case of long bridges. With the help of drones, this drawback can be addressed, as drones are able to give real-time feedback even under running traffic condition,� said Sharma.