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The Gallery | Drone used to survey major London rail shed

A drone has been used to assess the condition of a major UK rail asset.

Lanes Group’s rail division teamed up with unmanned systems firm AirRotorMedia UK to survey the roof of Neasden Lifting Shed for London Underground.

The team sent up a drone to take 184 high definition images of the 272m-long structure, which consists of 844 panes of glass.

A three-dimensional point cloud image was then created so the roof could be viewed and measured from any angle.

Images and data were sent to engineering consultants, who carried out analysis and prepared a dilapidation survey report.

Lanes Rail commercial director Matthew Todd said drones offered significant benefits over traditional methods of surveying.

“Using pilotless drones results in less impact on the survey site, can deliver significant cost savings, and generates richer survey data that has far more long-term use in terms of effective maintenance of assets,” he said.

“Using drones to carry out aerial surveys on rail assets is particularly beneficial, because gaining access to trackside areas is a key issue due to health and safety issues and associated controls.”

Todd added: “Some parts of older rail buildings, going back to the Victorian era, are almost impossible to reach, so very difficult to assess and maintain. That’s not the case any longer.”

Further benefits will come as drone technology is used for follow-up surveys, he said.

“In future, another drone survey can be done, and the image software will be able to detect differences, which might indicate structural deterioration. This will speed up the process of re-assessing the roof’s condition.”

  • Since publication of this story AirRotorMedia has changed its name to Unmanned Aerial Technology

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