The Railways on Monday said it has decided to deploy drone cameras for monitoring projects and activities of relief and rescue operation.
"Indian Railways has decided to deploy drone cameras (UAV/NETRA) for various railway activities, especially monitoring and maintenance of tracks and other rail infrastructure," the Railways Ministry said in a statement.
It said that directions had been given to Zonal Railways to procure such cameras. "This is in line with the Railways' desire to use technology to enhance safety and efficiency in train operations."
Beside monitoring of the project and maintenance of tracks, the drone cameras will also be deployed to undertake monitoring activities of relief and rescue operation and inspection-related activities.
"It shall also be used to assess preparedness of Non-Interlocking (NI) works, crowd management during fairs and melas, to identify scrap and also for aerial survey of station yards," it said.
According to Railways, these drones would be instrumental in providing real-time inputs related to safety and maintenance of tracks and other railway infrastructure.
The Railways said Western Railway had become the first Zonal Railway to procure drone cameras.
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) also held a day-long national brain storming session in New Delhi in November 2017, on application of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) in disaster management, including using it for identifying disaster-affected areas. It was observed that UAVs can be effectively used in different phases of disaster management and help NDMA identify areas affected by disasters and aid disaster response. The session called for all stakeholders to strive to leverage existing technologies for quick and efficient disaster response.
Interestingly, Tamil Nadu municipal administration also inaugurated a project for drone mapping of properties, which would be executed by Hyderabad-based RSI Softech India, making Chennai Corporation the first municipal body in the country to start such a project.