Hexagon selected for UK railway infrastructure mapping research project

Network Rail has funded the project under its R&D portfolio and is delivered by Innovate UK through the SBRI competition, Innovation in Automated Survey Processing for Railway Structure Gauging, Phase One. A small group of teams was shortlisted for this effort.

Hexagon selected for UK railway infrastructure mapping research project
Hexagon selected for UK railway infrastructure mapping research project

Hexagon selected for UK railway infrastructure mapping research project

Innovate UK has selected Hexagon’s Geospatial division to conduct a research  project which will lead to in faster and higher-precision mapping of railway infrastructure through the utilization of AI. Network Rail has funded the project under its R&D portfolio and is delivered by Innovate UK through the SBRI competition, Innovation in Automated Survey Processing for Railway Structure Gauging, Phase One. A small group of teams was shortlisted for this effort.

The project is expected to enable Network Rail to automatically identify and measure railway structures from LiDAR data, saving valuable time and resources, while also improving planning and operations across the rail network. Currently, the manual process takes analysts months or maybe years thanks to the dimensions of the info and therefore the labor-intensive tasks involved.

James Sweeney, Senior Engineer at Network Rail mentioned in the press release that the combination of cross-sectional area, shape, length and speed all place an area requirement on today’s railway. They anticipate this project will offer them a more efficient result thanks to capture, analyze and measure railway features along 20,000 miles of track, which is vital to railway safety and therefore the  growth and capacity of their network.

Network Rail collects detailed information about its track and therefore the surrounding features, like bridges and tunnels. The info is then analyzed to assess clearances between trains and therefore the infrastructure around them, which is vital to safety. The new project aims to automate the extraction and calculation of railway features from sensor data, leveraging AI to automatically analyze point cloud data, identify different structure types and perform measurements on the structures. 

The info is going to be collected from reality capture solutions from Hexagon’s Geosystems division. Mladen Stojic, president of Hexagon’s Geospatial division said that the Network Rail, supported by Innovate UK, is leading the way  promoting the use of AI to automate rail structure identification and measurement. He added that they are excited to be a part of a project which will help transform the gauging process for UK railways.