USA: Harsco Corp’s Protran Technology business unit is to market an unmanned Instrumented Rail Inspection System developed by Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory.
‘Rail safety depends on regular access, evaluation and protection along the railroad right-of-way,’ explained Jim Resio of Protran Technology. ‘With the new Instrumented Rail Inspection System, security inspection and first response work can now be done robotically, with almost no risk of human injury or fatality.’
Equipped with near-infrared video and photographic capabilities, the rail-mounted IRiS trolley is operated remotely from a portable base station that provides a single interface for controlling the vehicle and reviewing data. Optional chemical, radiation and optical sensors make it suitable for handling bomb threats, fires or natural disasters. IRiS can be put on or removed from the track within minutes, minimising the impact on scheduled services.
IRiS was developed by APL with funding from the Transportation Security Administration. The two-year programme has included live tests on metro networks, demonstrating the ability of IRiS to operate above and below ground.