Indian railway creates fault-finding AI robot

The AI-enabled robot uses images and videos to notify the engineers at Nagpur's Central Railway of possible faults to trains


The mechanical branch of India’s Nagpur region’s Central Railway has developed an AI-powered robot, USTAAD. The robot is capable of taking high definition pictures and videos of the underside and gears of trains and sending them to the engineers in charge of repairs and maintenance.

USTAAD – which stands for "undergear surveillance through artificial intelligence assisted droid" – is capable of examining parts of a train which are difficult for human engineers to access.

"It captures videos and still photographs of the under-gear parts of the coaches in real time and transmits them over using WiFi," said Central Railway spokesperson Sunil Udasi. "The engineers can see these videos on a big screen as well as record them. The camera of the robot can be rotated in any direction as per command given by the engineers."

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The primary purpose of USTAAD is to help mitigate the impact of human error when it comes to the repair of the trains, as easy and thorough access of the under-gears of trains is a big struggle for the engineers in charge of their maintenance.

"He (USTAAD) can also zoom on the spot in case of any doubt. It is equipped with LED flood light and able to capture the videos in low light as well as in dark mode. By using this robot the chances of a mistake and any deficiency overlooked by human eye can be eliminated thus reducing the chances of human error," added Udasi.

Central Railway will consider rolling out the use of the robot to other zones if this trial is successful. 

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