Omnicom Balfour Beatty and the University of York have been working together for more than two years and have come up with a way to automate and digitalise railway line inspections.

It is estimated that the invention could save the rail industry £10m a year in track maintenance is attached to the front of the train to inspect rail tracks. Using machine vision technology, high definition images of the rail track generate data that is then transferred through to a system for analysis of inaccuracies and faults on the tracks.

The technology not only identifies actual faults but also potential ones, allowing preventative fixes to be implemented as opposed to solely reactive repairs after an issue has arisen.The automated technology is now being progressed from proof of concept into commercial grade software. Balfour Beatty hopes that it will provide a quicker, more efficient and safer alternative to the current manual track inspection process.