Industrial research of a disruptive technology to monitor the health of rail subsurface infrastructure (hidden) assets in real time using innovative radar and visualisation technologies - Infrastructure Monitoring System (INFRAMONIT)

Lead Participant: Railview Limited

Abstract

Industrial research of disruptive technologies to monitor the health of rail subsurface infrastructure (hidden) assets in real time using innovative radar and visualisation technologies -- Infrastructure Monitoring System (INFRAMONIT).

This project simply addresses the global challenge of how to maintain subsurface infrastructure. It focuses on Intelligent Maintenance based on trainborne inspection which provides accurate, timely information for condition-based intervention and reduces the need for workers to be on or about the operating railway. INFRAMONIT can see below the surface to inspect rail substructure, rail ballast, drainage systems, subgrade, water pipes and utilities, tunnel linings, retaining walls and bridge surface structures. Rail infrastructure must meet the future needs of passenger and freight customers and should be more reliable, more readily available and easier to maintain.

INFRAMONIT provides the innovations that monitor the health of the infrastructure assets in real time using smart, built-in sensors and novel radar technology. The planned research is a critical investigation for the purpose of product development leading to an improvement in the current state-of-the-art. It will create a prototype demonstrator which will be tested in a laboratory with simulated infrastructure failures for technology validation. It targets a better way of monitoring and visualising the status of infrastructure to avoid disrupting train services by developing a technology that automatically delivers preventive maintenance plans so that maintenance can be completed before a failure occurs.

This project will provide a new smart technology to inspect and maintain resilient integrated rail infrastructure. The system is innovative, unique and the transport infrastructure managers involved from Network Rail are confident it has a large market potential. The SMEs will use the project to commence the commercial development of this disruptive technology of infrastructure inspection radar.

There are two main foci of innovation, the first is the novel rotational kinematics of the antennae, which allows data to be collected continuously from a three-hundred sixty-degree swath about the longitudinal axis of the vehicle. This offers a significant competitive advantage over current state of the art systems, which consists of several vertically fixed antennae uniformly positioned along the vehicle's lateral axis. The second focus is on fundamental processing software to transform the raw radar data into subsurface visualisations, which will be developed in parallel with the prototype.

Key words: radar, inspection, visualisation, preventative maintenance, rail infrastructure, resilience, capacity, failure, repair, planned maintenance.

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