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A Real-Time Visual Inspection System for Railway Maintenance: Automatic Hexagonal-Headed Bolts Detection

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4 Author(s)
Francescomaria Marino ; Dipt. di Elettrotecnica ed Elettronica, Politecnico di Bari ; Arcangelo Distante ; Pier Luigi Mazzeo ; Ettore Stella

Rail inspection is a very important task in railway maintenance, and it is periodically needed for preventing dangerous situations. Inspection is operated manually by trained human operator walking along the track searching for visual anomalies. This monitoring is unacceptable for slowness and lack of objectivity, as the results are related to the ability of the observer to recognize critical situations. The correspondence presents a patent-pending real-time Visual Inspection System for Railway (VISyR) maintenance, and describes how presence/absence of the fastening bolts that fix the rails to the sleepers is automatically detected. VISyR acquires images from a digital line-scan camera. Data are simultaneously preprocessed according to two discrete wavelet transforms, and then provided to two multilayer perceptron neural classifiers (MLPNCs). The "cross validation" of these MLPNCs avoids (practically-at-all) false positives, and reveals the presence/absence of the fastening bolts with an accuracy of 99.6% in detecting visible bolts and of 95% in detecting missing bolts. A field-programmable gate array-based architecture performs these tasks in 8.09 mus, allowing an on-the-fly analysis of a video sequence acquired at 200 km/h

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, Part C (Applications and Reviews)  (Volume:37 ,  Issue: 3 )