inet drone

Industrial Networks prepares to launch rail automation drone

inet drone
The INet drone

Industrial Networks (INet) is launching a drone that it says is “capable of fully autonomous scanning of the railyard for inventory and inspection of a railcar”. The company has been developing the drone since 2005, and last year applied to the authorities for a drone flying licence.

INet says the drone has transformed the rail industry for shippers and provided tools to automate the complete process of rail and truck shipping.

INet’s stationary and mobile Automated Equipment Identification (AEI) readers provide pivotal rail and truck shipment management for control over in-plant operations. This automation reduces the occurrence of errors and improves overall productivity for shippers across North America. 

In late 2015, INet applied for exemption to Section 333 of the FFA Reform Act in the railcar inspection and inventory market space and began testing a new drone AEI reader, the INet Rail Automation Drone (IRAD1), which will change the face of railyard automation once again.

It’s a bold plan that requires safety testing and FAA approvals, but will give rail shippers a greater amount of flexibility in their railyards.

The IRAD1 will be capable of fully autonomous scanning of the railyard for inventory and inspection of a railcar.

Built into the drone is an elaborate collision detection and avoidance system to help avoid objects in the flight path and reinforce safety. Research shows these sophisticated systems are highly effective.

This tool gives the IRAD1 the ability to be a completely autonomous AEI scanner. This will lead to faster data collection and help the business reduce workforce requirements.

INet’s current collection of AEI-scanning tools includes stationary and handheld readers and automates data collection in the field. This is critical in alleviating manual data entry errors and expediting the turnaround of railcars within a facility.

The addition of the IRAD1 to INet’s arsenal of AEI-scanning tools helps the customer create a work environment that is specific for their business.

“Advancement in drone technology has allowed Industrial Networks to explore what we feel is the future of rail automation,” said Jimmy Finster, president of Industrial Networks. “We are continuously researching new and innovative ways to help our customers improve their operations and streamline their daily processes.”