A machine vision system based on driving recorder for automatic inspection of rail curvature

Su Mei Wang, Ching Lung Liao, Yi Qing Ni

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Because of long distance of railway lines, it is difficult to find an appropriate method to inspect the rail track condition efficiently and accurately. In this paper, a machine vision system based on driving recorder and image signal processing is proposed to evaluate the rail curvature automatically. The proposed machine vision system consists of four modules including the video acquisition module, the image extraction module, the image processing module, and the track condition assessment module. Three classic edge detection methods are adopted and compared for rail edge detection. In line with the videos of driving recorder, coordinate systems for train and rail are defined in the Lagrangian space, and the track curvature is estimated using the proposed chord offset method and double measurement method. For evaluating the track condition, an index describing the concordance between the train and track is defined. In the case study, a set of videos from the driving recorders of trains during their in-service operations are analyzed by the proposed technique, and the obtained results are verified by comparison with those obtained by a track geometry inspection vehicle. It is shown that the proposed technique can evaluate the track curvature accurately. Moreover, the influence of the position of deployed driving recorder, the focal length and anti-shake of camera on the accuracy of evaluation results is discussed. It is testified that the proposed technique provides a simple and reliable way to inspect the track curvature.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9184130
Pages (from-to)11291 - 11300
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Sensors Journal
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2020


  • Driving recorder
  • Edge detection
  • Machine vision
  • Onboard inspection
  • Track curvature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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