Control and Maintenance of Railways through Satellites. Is it possible?
The framework of this paper falls within the needs of optimization of the expenses in maintenance in railroads, contemplating the cost of the infrastructure from a life cycle approach.
In the last 25 years, there has been a strong investment in new high-speed railway infrastructures. After putting a new infrastructure into service, it is very important to avoid losses of the value of this asset by means of adequate maintenance actions.
Given the economic situation of the last years, it is necessary to optimize the resources allocated to railway maintenance, with criteria of efficiency and austerity.
In this paper, new sources of information have been sought to determine the state of the infrastructures and their maintenance needs. It analyses the possibility of integrating aerospace knowledge to carry out these controls and monitoring tasks through satellites as a substitution of control and visual monitoring or, like the latest innovative proposals, using drones.
Within the capabilities of the satellites, a more detailed evaluation of those that could be useful for railway maintenance, such as satellites with capacity to measure soil moisture, to take high resolution images or to control the surface movements.
Throughout this paper, it is intended to make a comparison between the necessary measurement ranges in railway maintenance and the possibilities that give us the artificial satellites.
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