Method for automatic railway track surface defect classification and evaluation using a laser-based 3D model

Jiaqi Ye, Edward Stewart, Dingcheng Zhang*, Qianyu Chen, Clive Roberts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Inspection of physical surface defects is a significant concern in many industrial areas. In railway systems, this process mainly includes the detection and classification of defects in rails and wheels, for which laser-based optical inspection technologies have gradually been applied in the form of 2D profile measurement, benefiting from its high precision and robustness to surface conditions. However, defect classification and evaluation after the initial detection works still rely heavily on human inspectors to make maintenance suggestions. The linear nature of rails makes it possible to increase the dimension of rail measurement data from 2D to 3D by aligning 2D profiles along the rail, from which more comprehensive diagnosis information becomes available. In combination with appropriate artificial intelligence algorithms, this approach can potentially replace human-dominated defect classification and evaluation work. This study presents a 3D model-based railway track surface defect classification and evaluation method. A set of geometrical features are extracted from the 3D model of track surface defects to describe a distinguishable pattern for each category of defect. Multi-class classifiers are then tested and have shown promising results on a group of artificial track surface defects, giving a systemic solution for 3D model-based automatic track surface defect inspection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2701-2710
Number of pages10
JournalIET Image Processing
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by the Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme as part of the S-CODE project under Grant Agreement No. 730849, in part by the Guangzhou Science and Technology Plan (Ref. 201704030048), and in part by the China Scholarship Council.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Institution of Engineering and Technology 2020.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Signal Processing
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Method for automatic railway track surface defect classification and evaluation using a laser-based 3D model'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this