Multifunction LIDAR Sensors for Noncontact, Speed, and Complex Rail Dynamics

The results of an extensive series of tests are presented to evaluate the viability and applicability of LIDAR systems for measuring track speed, distance, and curvature in revenue service. The tests indicate that a LIDAR system can successfully provide multifunctional, noncontact measurements with a higher degree of accuracy than encoders and interurban multiple units (IMUs), at speeds ranging from 0.5 to 100 mph. The tests are conducted onboard Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)’s R4 Hy-Rail vehicle and a track geometry measurement railcar. The railcar tests involve a field-hardy, unmanned system that is successfully operated over several months and thousands of revenue service miles. The results indicate that, with further development, the LIDAR technology would be suitable for implementation in FRA’s Autonomous Track Geometry Measurement System (ATGMS) and track geometry measurement systems. Additional studies are recommended to further establish the LIDAR system’s measurement accuracy, ability to generate a foot pulse (similar to encoder’s transistor-transistor logic (TTL) signal), and potential for measuring track geometry. The LIDAR system must be tested on a trial basis as a retrofit to wheel-mounted encoders to better assess its potential for integration into track geometry cars. A plausible commercialization plan is needed to prepare the technology for revenue service and integration into FRA’s ATGMS.

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  • Corporate Authors:

    Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg

    Center for Vehicle Systems and Safety
    3103 Commerce Street
    Blacksburg, VA  United States  24061

    Federal Railroad Administration

    Office of Research and Development, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Ahmadian, Mehdi
    • Craft, Michael
    • Stuart, Cameron
  • Publication Date: 2014-7


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Edition: Technical Report
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Photos; Tables;
  • Pagination: 86p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01535333
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: DOT/FRA/ORD-14/26
  • Files: TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Jul 29 2014 11:21AM