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  • Writer's pictureVictoria Yeboah

Reshaping Railways with Drone Data

The railway industry has been benefitting from the use of drones in recent years. Like other industries such as mining and agriculture, this industry sees many real benefits. Drones have been able to take on jobs such as inspection, construction planning and surveillance.

Jobs fulfilled by drones

Construction Planning

Drones can be used to plan entire railway networks for construction. Using the mapping technology of LiDAR and others data capturing methods, an entire 3D map of an area can be created and used to create a detailed project plan. This will allow for more environmental issues and complications to be seen before construction commences.


One of the optimal uses of drones in the railway sector is to perform inspections on railway lines. Railways experience high wear and tear and as such, inspections are an important part of railway operation. In some cases, damage on railway lines can be hard to spot with the naked eye. Drones are a suitable method of inspection due its speed and cost effectiveness. Ground inspection by workers is often costly, time consuming and often dangerous. Inspection with heavy machinery such as helicopters is also time consuming and not nearly as cost effective as drones. Drones provide a flexible, cheaper, and safer method of inspection of railways and its support structures.


Freight is often a mode of transport for highly sensitive and or valuable products. This often leaves them vulnerable to theft and vandalism. Using drones to monitor routes and vulnerable points along the railway line can help in deterring and catching thefts as they occur. Using drones as a first response to theft and crime puts first responders at lesser risk. Drones are also highly manoeuvrable and can stay on the scene and travel quickly during an incident if necessary.

Benefits of drone use in the Railway Industry


Using drones in railway operations will save time. On average, drones move more quickly than humans and, can travel farther distances than most humans can on foot. It also takes drones less time to reach hard to reach areas along a rail line. All while physically moving faster, drones can also capture data faster than humans. Be it pictures or survey data, drones can enter the field and multitask in a why humans cannot.


A big positive in using drones is taking out some the risk and danger elements to human resources. Drones can fly into areas that would otherwise pose a big risk to railway workers and other humans affected by the situation. Hazards such as radiation, highly explosive and corrosive materials along with other hazards can be much better resisted by a machine such as a drone. More details of the situation can be acquired without putting human lives at risk.

It is worth noting that, many railways operate in restricted airspace. As such, railway firms would benefit from hiring firms such as Axis Drone Surveys to carry out these operations. Using drones in the railway industry is a positive move forward in the technology of planning inspections and surveillance. It saves both time and human energy while keeping workers safer on the job.

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