Machine Vision Based Tunnel Equipment Inspection System on Locomotives to Enhance Inspection Frequency and Provide Automatic Detection of Dislocated Items

By March 3, 2024Cape Town 2023, Documents
pdf icon

In the densely populated city of Hong Kong, the demand for railway service is immense. The city’s heartbeat is driven by the trains that tirelessly run for over 19 hours each day, leaving a mere gap of 3 to 4 hours for maintenance and repair works. Given such limited maintenance window, the MTR Corporation continuously look for ways to accomplish more inspection tasks with the same resources. An innovative solution was proposed to leverage our current fleet of locomotives for tunnel inspections while they are conducting other maintenance activities. This is achieved by fitting these locomotives with high-speed cameras designed for low light applications. As the locomotives are dispatched on their service runs, the image capturing process is automatically initiated, thus turning each journey into an inspection opportunity. Upon completion of duty, the locomotives would return to the shed where the captured images are downloaded onto a backend AI server. This server then applies the AI algorithm for tunnel equipment detection and compare with recent batch of images from the last inspection to identify if there are any abnormalities (e.g. dislocation, disappeared equipment). On the user side, the system requires minimal human intervention and will automatically generate inspection report and abnormalities alerts to the maintenance team. This approach offers multiple benefits. First, the need for extra maintenance staff, additional locomotives, and extended maintenance hours for those inspection can be saved for other activities. Second, the system can pick up early dislocation symptoms and alert maintenance staff to take corrective action before the equipment becomes fully disengaged and intrudes into the running track area, hence protecting passenger safety. Third, every time the locomotives are dispatched for service, automatic inspections are carried out, thus enabling frequent and efficient examinations.

This innovative method allows us to utilize our maintenance resources more efficiently for enhancing railway safety. By detecting and rectifying potential problems early, we ensure that the railway service continues to run smoothly to meet the city’s great demand while ensuring the safety of our passengers.

Year of Publication: 2023

Document: View

Select language