The D4S project is built upon two highly compelling use cases that address a large part of the European transportation infrastructures: railways and bridges.
On 12th and 13th April 2023, the first Drones4Safety outdoor test focused on both bridge and railway use cases and was managed by EUCENTRE. The use cases consisted of a series of activities conducted on a portion of a long viaduct on a occasionally used railway route near Costigliole D’Asti in the province of Asti, in Piedmont (North Italy). After a brief pre-test meeting with all the involved persons, outdoor tests of the swarm system developed by Aarhus University were carried out (NEAT pilots and UAS operator), in the presence of the majority of the D4S partners.
The general goal of this mission was the test validation, in a real bridge scenario, of some of the main functionalities developed within the D4S project, that are:
- Swarm system
- Mission Control and Autonomous Navigation
- LiDAR based positioning algorithm
- AI fault/element detection algorithms for both bridges and railways
An operative base was set in the parking area close to the bridge and the mobile units of EUCENTRE was employed as an on-site coordination centre for: operations management, data processing and guarantee the in-situ recharging (thanks to external power generators) as well as the internet connection (by means of a mobile 4G-router).
Within the planning activities of this mission, an intensive work of regulatory and risk safety assessment related to the deployment of a swarm system in a real scenario in Italy has been carried out by EUCENTRE and Deep Blue.
Another Drones4Safety outdoor test was conducted at the Siemens Mobility’s Test and Validation Center Wegberg-Wildenrath (PCW) in Germany on April the 26th 2023. It focused on the railways use case. Primary roles were conducted by the Southern University of Denmark, who provided the drone, ARIC, a research facility for automotive and rail engineering in Germany, and NEAT, as Railway expert in Italy. ARIC provided and organised all necessary access to this railway test bed and hosted the test campaign.,
During these UCs, the following D4S objectives were validated:
- 3D reconstruction
- Swarm system
- Mission control and autonomous navigation
- Energy harvesting
- AI fault detection algorithms for railways