Automated visual inspection of railroad tracks

Esther Resendiz, John M. Hart, Narendra Ahuja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Thousands of miles of railroad track must be inspected twice weekly by a human inspector to maintain safety standards. A computer vision system, consisting of field-acquired video and subsequent analysis, could improve the efficiency of the current methods. Such a system is prototyped, and the following challenges are addressed: the detection, segmentation, and defect assessment of track components whose appearance vary across different tracks and the identification and inspection of special track areas such as track turnouts. An algorithm that utilizes the periodic manner in which track components repeat in an inspection video is developed. Spectral estimation and signal-processing methods are used to provide robust detection of the periodically occurring track components. Results are demonstrated on field-acquired images and video.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6419832
Pages (from-to)751-760
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2013


  • Railroad track inspection
  • spectral estimation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Automotive Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


Dive into the research topics of 'Automated visual inspection of railroad tracks'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this