Keeping an Intelligent Ear on Rail Infrastructure

Keeping an Intelligent Ear on Rail Infrastructure
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Sensonic

Keeping an Intelligent Ear on Rail Infrastructure

This article first appeared in the Railway-News Magazine Issue 4 2023.

By Daniel Pyke, CEng FIMMM

Humans are great at interpreting the world around us through our five senses.

We use two of these to sense the vibrating world around us through sound and touch. From a squeaking door hinge indicating it needs oil, to the rumble of thunder telling us to seek shelter, we instinctively interpret noise and vibrations to help us navigate the world.

Interpreting vibrations permeates our everyday lives, so it is no surprise it has also entered our everyday language too. E.g., “That doesn’t sound right” may be heard when your car or kitchen appliances start making unusual noises which is then often followed by repair or replacement.

Why Don’t We Listen to Railways?

Part of the challenge is the railway is long and the range of hearing via the human ear or microphones is limited, meaning historically we were largely deaf to this important data source.

However, Sensonic technology extends our range of vibration detection by using a fibreoptic cable and turning it into a myriad of vibration sensors along its length. Each kilometre of fibre cable is turned into over 150 sensitive vibration sensors.

Known as distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) the technology is already well established securing international borders and monitoring pipelines and powerlines and is now being brought to the railways by Sensonic to deliver improved rail infrastructure insights.

Listening vs Understanding

Whilst gathering huge quantities of vibration data from along the whole length of a railway is now possible, to make it useful we must also apply intelligent data analysis. Sensonic uses the latest machine learning, artificial intelligence and advanced algorithms to generate actionable insights for railways spanning multiple disciplines.

Download the full PDF here.

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Use the form opposite to get in touch with Sensonic directly to discuss any requirements you might have.








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