Position-based Automatic Rail Track Monitoring System (PARTS)
Mikel Beltrán, Igor Latasa
Physical damage on rail-tracks can threaten the safety of a railway system as a whole. Current damage detection methods are costly and usually only performed on a yearly basis. The PARTS system is a compact, laser-based light source combined with an on-board digital camera that makes it possible to visualise rail profiles. The system can take images or videos to help its control computer determine whether a rail is in good shape or shows signs of wear. Images of detected damage are reported along with precise track positions thanks to an embedded GNSS system. A combination of Galileo and the EGNOS support system is the GNSS service of choice of the PARTS project. For underground operations, it can be supported by the Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping (SLAM) system or a dead reckoning inertial positioning system. The PARTS system is a cost-effective solution that reduces the costs rail operators incur through track inspection. It can be installed on existing or new rail vehicles. Train builders can thus provide vehicles suitable for both transportation and maintenance inspections to meet the current high demand from train operators. The benefits are clear: reduced maintenance costs, reduced maintenance time, and constant monitoring of rail conditions during normal train operations.