Overhead Line Inspection System

Computer Vision, Vision Stack on Cloud, Machine Vision

Project Description

Electric locomotives draw power from the overhead line. Overhead lines have to be inspected regularly for alignment changes and faults. An overhead line with faulty alignment can entangle with the moving train’s pantograph and fail. In most developed countries this inspection is done by automated systems that cost over $200,000. In developing countries such as India, inspection of overhead lines is a cumbersome and time-consuming manual process. Through this project, we have developed an automated overhead line inspection system, which when mounted on the locomotive, gives detailed reports regarding the alignment of the overhead line and automatically alerts for the sections that need maintenance. These reports make fault-finding very simple and hence act as an effective preventive measure against failure. Developed systems can save a lot of time, effort and maintenance costs for the Indian Railways.


  • First ever student-driven industrial consultancy project from Center for Innovation, IIT Madras
  • Based on a patented technology that can reduce the cost of overhead inspection from current – $200,000 per system to $20,000 per inspection system
  • Joint pilot project with Southern Railways has been granted funding of $42,000, with follow-up funding of $80,000 for delivery of additional systems.
  • Project has been presented to 16 zones of Indian Railway during the Chief Electrical Engineers’ Conference on March 3rd 2014 and development is underway for a pan-India outreach and delivery.
  • Patented technology has been recognized as one among top 100 technologies developed in India (in 2013) by FICCI under the India Innovation Growth Program.
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