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Firms asked to show if satellite data can improve rail resilience

Businesses can take part in a Network Rail challenge to show how satellites could identify ground movement across the UK rail network.

Network Rail is challenging businesses to come up with ways of using satellite technology to improve the understanding of the UK’s rail network and identify potential deterioration and movement of the earth. The opportunity is for businesses to work with Network Rail in the future.

The organisation has teamed up with Innovate UK and the Satellite Applications Catapult to invite businesses to show how data from satellites could alert it to potential events including:

  • embankment or cutting failures
  • subsidence resulting from disused mine workings
  • natural landslides
  • changes of land use that increase risk to the infrastructure
  • damage to sea defences designed to mitigate coastal erosion

Recent winters have been some of the wettest on record and have provided a significant challenge to the resilience of the rail network.

Ongoing improvements in satellite technology have led Network Rail to explore new ways of identifying where problems could occur.

Network Rail hopes to one day remove repeat visual inspections of earthworks from its routine work and replace it with data streams that alert engineers to the sites they need to visit.

Businesses will get access to satellite data

Eligible businesses will be given access to a range of satellite data, free of charge.

They will be asked to demonstrate their solutions for a series of real-world incidents outlined by Network Rail.

Those with promising solutions could have an opportunity to work with Network Rail in the future.

The challenge is now open, and participating businesses will demonstrate their solutions to a panel on 28 November 2016.

For more information on the Network Rail challenge


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