Rail Inspection

A Closer Aerial Inspection of Automated Shipping Yards in Motion

Storage cranes at Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG’s (HHLA) modern and efficient shipment yard require an annual survey of over 30km of rail per terminal. A research team at TU Braunschweig – AEROINSPEKT, has developed a system to perform airborne measurement of critical infrastructure in operation, thus reducing downtime required by manned ground inspection.

Millimeter Resolution using Aerial Photogrammetry

The AeroInspekt team has created a cost-effective solution that provides airborne measurement and inspection critical infrastructure during operation.

Automated storage cranes are the heart of HHLA’s modern and efficient container terminals and require annual inspection to measure any changes in the systems’ rail tracks due to changes in geomorphological conditions of subsoil in the harbor. Using a Phase One Industrial iXM-100 medium format camera (150 mm optics) at low altitudes of 35 m makes it possible to acheive an large image with of 7.7 m with a resolution of up to 1 millimeter.

Image: Automated storage cranes form the heart of modern, high-performance container terminals. High operational requirements regarding the exact tracking of the cranes demand an annual survey of over 30km of rail per terminal.

Quick Facts

1MM RESOLUTION & 7.7M IMAGE WIDTH AT 35M (150MM LENS)

Phase One Industrial medium-format cameras with 150mm RS lens provides a resolution of up to 0.3mm (from 10m flight height) and 0.9mm (from 35m height, flown at HHLA)

SURVEYING SYSTEMS IN OPERATION

By using a drone harbor cranes can remain in operation while undergoing inspection

PHASE ONE DRONE SOLUTION

Fully Integrated Drone Solution iXM-100 and DJI M600 PRO Drone

Phase One’s iXM-100 is the only camera that can capture such sharp and large images with its wide swath, from a safe altitude. The camera just works with no triggering problems

Markus Bobbe

PHD Researcher - Institute of Flight Guidance, TU Braunschweig

Surveying Systems in Motion, Saving on Downtime

HHLA’s Storage cranes have to be regularly checked, measured for any ground settlement changes or movement, and repaired. Traditional surveying activities lead to operational disruptions as they cannot be conducted while the systems are in motion.

Innovative automated surveying systems increases productivity through uninterrupted use of container storage and improve human-machine interaction. Possible physical stress on the infrastructure can be reduced and occupational safety can be increased by using UAVs.

Data Acquisition

By flying the Phase One iXM-100 medium format aerial camera at low altitudes of only 35 m, surveying with a resolution of up to 1 millimeter is possible. During the project, the workflows for processing and interpretation of the large data sets are developed, optimized and evaluated by the team on the ground.

Aerial System

The fully integrated drone solution contains:

  • Phase One iXM-100 Aerial Camera
  • 150mm RSM lens
  • DJI M600 PRO drone
  • Phase One iX Capture Mobile Application

The system offers a cost-effective measurement of small-scale areas with millimetre accuracy. The motorized RSM lens offers the flexibility to fly the UAV at higher altitudes, if needed.

Reactive Mission Planning in Dynamic Environments

Drones conventionally follow a stripe pattern to evenly cover a photogrammetry survey mission area. During the inspection of crane rails in an operating container terminal this approach is unsuited since parts of the tracks on the created images will be covered by moving cranes. A complete reconstruction of the rails requires an adaption of the flight path of the drone depending on the current position and velocity of the operating cranes.

The AeroInspekt system monitors the mission for conflicts and re-plans the UAV flight path while considering the constraints given by the terminal operator and the photogrammetric surveyor.

IMAGE: Orthophoto created of rail tracks by AeroInspekt
  • Surveying Systems in Motion, Saving on Downtime

    Surveying Systems in Motion, Saving on Downtime

    HHLA’s Storage cranes have to be regularly checked, measured for any ground settlement changes or movement, and repaired. Traditional surveying activities lead to operational disruptions as they cannot be conducted while the systems are in motion.

    Innovative automated surveying systems increases productivity through uninterrupted use of container storage and improve human-machine interaction. Possible physical stress on the infrastructure can be reduced and occupational safety can be increased by using UAVs.

  • Data Acquisition

    Data Acquisition

    By flying the Phase One iXM-100 medium format aerial camera at low altitudes of only 35 m, surveying with a resolution of up to 1 millimeter is possible. During the project, the workflows for processing and interpretation of the large data sets are developed, optimized and evaluated by the team on the ground.

  • Aerial System

    Aerial System

    The fully integrated drone solution contains:

    • Phase One iXM-100 Aerial Camera
    • 150mm RSM lens
    • DJI M600 PRO drone
    • Phase One iX Capture Mobile Application

    The system offers a cost-effective measurement of small-scale areas with millimetre accuracy. The motorized RSM lens offers the flexibility to fly the UAV at higher altitudes, if needed.

  • Reactive Mission Planning in Dynamic Environments

    Reactive Mission Planning in Dynamic Environments

    Drones conventionally follow a stripe pattern to evenly cover a photogrammetry survey mission area. During the inspection of crane rails in an operating container terminal this approach is unsuited since parts of the tracks on the created images will be covered by moving cranes. A complete reconstruction of the rails requires an adaption of the flight path of the drone depending on the current position and velocity of the operating cranes.

    The AeroInspekt system monitors the mission for conflicts and re-plans the UAV flight path while considering the constraints given by the terminal operator and the photogrammetric surveyor.

    IMAGE: Orthophoto created of rail tracks by AeroInspekt

Watch AeroInspekt in Action

Watch the Phase One Drone Solution as part of the AeroInspekt and HHLA project – 2019 © TU Brunschweig.

Phase One iXM series

iXM-100 Camera

iXM-100 Camera
Phase One lens RSM 150mmAF

150mm RSM Lens

150mm RSM Lens

Fully Integrated DJI M600 PRO with iXM-100

M600 Payload

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