Artificial Intelligence spring board for cooperation Network Rail, SBB
UK infrastructure manager Network Rail and Swiss operator have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU with a view to sharing knowledge and best practices. Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology will be the spring board for the partnership.
The MoU is part of Network Rail’s International Research & Development partnership programme (IRDPP), and will initially centre on using AI for inspections via workshops. Network Rail and SBB will study ways to use it for matters such as bridge inspections, monitoring the tracks – switches and crosses in particular – and light rail conditioning monitoring. Whenever IRDPP projects will be undertaken, the funding will be a joint responsibility. The same applies for resources, testing and capabilities.
“There has always been a history of information sharing with rail colleagues nationally and internationally but signing the MoU today with SBB solidifies our commitment to work more closely together”, Robert Ampomah, Network Rail’s Chief Technology Officer said about the MoU.
“It has been fundamental to us as an organisation to continue to look forward in terms of sharing best practices and advances in applied research and development”, Roland Moser, SBB’s Head of Technology, added.
The Swiss operator has been working with AI for some time. In 2021, SBB announced it would utilise the technology in track condition monitoring, with Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and Siemens also involved in the project.
Network Rail, on its part, in June announced that it was trialing AI technology to identify scrap materials and other construction materials along the tracks. This could pose safety hazards, the infrastructure manager said. AI is used to analyse video captured by a train to identify and localise the scrap items.
The role of AI in track maintenance and monitoring is important topic of the upcoming Intelligent Rail Summit in Warsaw, which will be held on November 6-7. Click here for more information or use this link to register.