Belgian rail infrastructure management company, Infrabel, uses FLIR thermal imaging cameras to detect people walking on the tracks.
Infrabel uses 30 FLIR ITS-Series Rail thermal imaging cameras to look for intruders inside the North-South railway tunnels. The thermal cameras pick up heat signatures from people entering the tunnel and, using smart algorithms, they can see whether it's a person or something else. Upon detection, an alarm is activated and a control room operator is warned of oncoming danger.
FLIR cameras ensure 24/7 detection on tracks or in tunnels and do not need any illumination to operate. The system uses advanced detection algorithms in order to accurately detect people without being triggered by unwanted objects like small animals or passing trains. Infrabel put forward a demanding requirement of 99% detection accuracy, which the FLIR cameras have been able to achieve.
During one incident operators decided to halt train traffic in order to prevent further harm.
Between December 2018 and September 2019, several intrusions have been detected on the Brussels North-South line. During one incident Infrabel operators decided to halt train traffic in order to prevent further harm. So, in terms of saving lives and reducing standstills, the thermal cameras have already proven their value. Projects like Infrabel's North-South connection demonstrate that thermal imaging can play a vital role in helping public transportation systems operate safely.