Indian Railway has used drones for the first time for inspecting a mega rail project to assess the progress on the ground and the flying machine would now be used to monitor other under-construction schemes.
An unmanned aerial vehicle, also called drone, was used to inspect the ongoing work on the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) project and, as per the plan, all ongoing projects will be monitored through aerial survey.
Besides, the public sector behemoth has also decided to use drones to assess the ground situation in the aftermath of train accidents. A drone is essentially a flying robot which can be remotely handled through software-controlled flight plans embedded in its systems working in conjunction with GPS.
"We used a drone to ascertain the progress on the 42 km long track between Baghega to Srimadhopur in Rajasthan in the Western DFC and also the 56 km long line between Durgawati and Sasaram in Bihar," DFC Managing Director Adesh Sharma said.
The drone was used for three days on a trial basis to cover the total 98 km on the DFC. The status report was prepared after the analysis of video recordings. "It becomes easier and faster to prepare the status report of an ongoing project through drone.
Field work can be monitored from the office using the drone footage," said Sharma. The drone was hired from a private operator and it cost Rs 3,000 per km for undertaking the aerial survey. Currently about 170 projects, including doubling and laying of new lines, are being executed by railways.
Drones will now be used to assess actual physical progress of these projects, sources said. As far as DFC is concerned, the Durgawati-Sasaram section is complete now and awaiting safety clearance before being commissioned.