Indian Railways to use drones for security purposes! With the entire country in lockdown, Indian Railways’ assets like PRS counters, coaches, etc. are not being used and are locked. This is in addition to those railway assets that are currently in use such as yards signalling infrastructure, wagon stock, goods sheds, stations relay rooms, etc. Thus, whether in use or not, the RPF staff has to ensure the safety of these assets. As a large part of the East Coast Railways (ECOR) territory is under LWE influence areas, keeping an eye round the clock on all fixed and moving rail assets in addition to activity centres, is quite challenging during the lockdown period. Therefore, in a first on Indian Railways network, the zone deployed drones to keep an eye 24X7 on the entire ECOR territory.
The national transporter deployed these drones on instructions of RPF officers to optimize RPF effectiveness and productivity. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the movement of passenger train services has been stopped but the movement of goods trains to transport essential commodities is still being done. Due to the lockdown, some sections of the ECOR zone have got very less or no movement of the security personnel.
The Waltair Division Of ECOR zone has introduced the concept of Security Patrolling through drones since it is not possible to guard the huge assets and open railway tracks widespread all over. Soon as per the requirement, this will be operational at KURDHA, Puri, and Bhubaneswar.
According to the national transporter, the drones will be operated with the permission of State/Airport and Naval and Airport authorities so that the movements of these cameras are fully monitored. With these cameras, the images of the track from the maximum suitable heights will be captured, communication links of around two km initially so that the image and video reached the Operator, are clear to take follow up action. Other than real-time monitoring, the data will be stored to create a Video library for future references. Moreover, with the use of motor or push trolley, the Operator with the RPF can move inside the section and cover the area. Also, message can be sent to the control room for prompt action as well as information can be passed to local police.