Friday 20 May 2022

UIC Drone Days Workshop

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The UIC Drone Days workshop was held at UIC headquarters and online on 11 and 12 May. This is the first conference organised by UIC on the use of this technology in the railway environment. The conference, attended by more than 120 participants online and around 40 onsite, served to highlight the situation with regard to railway inspection using drones, focusing on both regulatory and technological aspects. The Drone4Rail group aims to study the application of unmanned aerial vehicles to railway maintenance tasks throughout Europe.

The two-day event began with a presentation of the results of the UIC “Drone4Rail harmonised methodology for drone/UAV use for bridge inspection” project. The project members had the opportunity to discuss the results of the project during this session. The technical leaders explained the main findings of each of the work packages. In addition to the presentation of the final outputs, which will serve as a basis for the group’s future projects, the experts had time to plan the launch of the final technical project documents. These include the Specific Operations Risk Assessment (SORA), developed with the help of AirHub, which has been already published and can be downloaded via the following link:
https://www.shop-etf.com/fr/specific-operations-risk-assessment-and-operational-safety-objectives?ref=1

Following this session, the open UIC Drone Days session took place on the afternoon of 11 May. The session began with a presentation by Franco Iacobini, UIC Chairman of the Infrastructure Subsystem Sector and Head of Infrastructure Standards of the Technical Directorate of RFI S.p.A., who introduced current drone applications in the railway environment to the attendees and gave a brief overview of projects concerning the use of drones for railway inspection that have been already developed.

This was followed by a presentation by Natale di Rubbo, Drone Project Manager at the European Aviation Safety Agency, who explained the European Union’s current drone regulation, as well as a presentation by Andreas Hoffman, CER representative for drones and Drone Projects Engineer at SBB, who explained CER’s position regarding the EU drone regulation.

Following the presentations on the European regulation, attention turned toward the AirHub founders, Stephan van Vuren and Thomas Brinkman, who presented the SORA document and the AirHub app, which ensures compliance with GDPR requirements for drone operations. The next speaker was Alexis Meneses, Head of Strategy & Development at Altametris, who presented the Altametris Suite software, ending his presentation with a live demonstration of Altametris procedures.
The first day was closed by Mercedes Gutiérrez, Head of Asset Management, Infrastructure and Interfaces with Rolling Stock (UIC), who provided the attendees with an overview of UIC’s strategy for drone application and ongoing UIC projects regarding the use of new technologies for railway inspection purposes.

On 12 May, the Drone4Rail group members had the opportunity to attend a technical visit to the Altametris headquarters in Saint-Denis. The visit consisted of an overview of the Altametris drone fleet and a presentation on the main use cases for drones in the railway maintenance environment. After this technical visit, the Drone4Rail for Plain Track project meeting took place at UIC headquarters. This meeting allowed the members of the group to discuss the scope of the new project, as well as establish the strategy to be followed for the development of the project.
The UIC team would like to thank all those who attended the UIC Drone Days for their participation, with a special mention for the open session speakers for their presentations to the railway community. Thanks also go to all of the Drone4Rail group experts for their participation and for making the workshop possible.

For further information about Drone4Rail group projects, please contact Mercedes Gutiérrez, Head of Asset Management, Infrastructure, and Interfaces with Rolling Stock at UIC, at gutierrez@uic.org

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