Tuesday 13 December 2022

UIC Drone4Rail meets in Cologne and visits EASA

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On 7 and 8 December, the Drone4Rail group met in-person for the second time, in Cologne. Their project studies the use of unmanned aerial vehicles for railway inspections. The meeting was generously hosted by DB Netz at its Cologne office with more than15 people in attendance and was led by Mercedes Gutiérrez, UIC Head of Infrastructure, Asset Management & TTI.

The D4R group comprises of experts from ADIF (Spain), Altametris (France), DB Netz (Germany), Infrabel (Belgium), IP (Portugal), MÁV (Hungary), NS (Netherlands), ProRail (Netherlands) and RFI (Italy).

On the first day, the group had the opportunity to discuss the project’s different stages and a strategy to achieve their objectives, with one of these being to develop a Pre-Defined Risk Assessment (PDRA) for the use of drones in track inspections. It is a continuation of the Specific Operations Risk Assessment (SORA) developed by UIC and was given an award in the UIC Publication Awards 2022 in the Business Oriented Category (https://shop.uic.org/fr/autres-documents/14261-specific-operations-risk-assessment-and-operational-safety-objectives.html). The new PDRA will be developed by AirHub and is based on current regulations published by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

On Thursday 8 December, the group visited the EASA headquarters. During a meeting with Natale di Rubbo, Drone Project Manager, the group had the opportunity to discuss specific technical topics for the railway sector that could help the different civil aviation authorities drive certain types of drone inspections.

It was a very rewarding meeting for all the participants, as EASA is aware that the use of drones could increase safety within the railway sector and is willing to continue collaborating with UIC on this project, while UIC is also keen on continuing to work together with EASA to allow the development of new inspection techniques for the safe use of drones.

Thanks to Alexis Meneses (Altametris), Salvatore Lorelli (DB Netz), Karin Braet, Martin Keller, David Arroyo, and David Desquesne (Infrabel), Jorge Miguel Ferreira (IP), Gergerly Nyiro, Laszlo Paksai (MÁV), Sep Schetters, Remco Bunder (NS), Geert Titulaer, Rob Gerritsen (ProRail) and Giulia Polimanti (RFI) for attending this meeting.

For further information, please contact Jesus Palma, UIC Infrastructure & TTI Junior Advisor, at palma@uic.org

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