Unmanned Aerial System (UAS)
Railroads have been using drone technology for rail structure inspections since 2014, placing cameras where men used to hang from 800-foot-long metal bridges or 600-foot-high radio towers.
There is a project in our group aiming to measure the behavior of railroad bridges under revenue traffic using lasers and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for safer operations. This research will implement the development and testing of using UAVs with sensing laser technologies to assess the structural condition of simply supported spans, thereby informing subsequent prioritization of the need for more detailed inspections. The main emphasis of this research is freight traffic and transportation, but the application is expected to assist any other type of railroad operations such as passenger and intercity passenger rail.