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European premiere: drone garages to save on thousands of minutes of delay in future

Drone leaving drone hangar beside rail tracks

From now on drone garages will be distributed along the ÖBB’s rail network to provide valuable support: as the first infrastructure company in Europe, ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG has obtained the authorisation to use drones that can be operated also without direct visual contact with the pilots. In close cooperation with Frequentis and supported by Austro Control, this innovative project was realised. Instead of sending employees on foot into hazardous, impassable terrain or snow-covered slopes, drones will be sent off from a nearby drone garage. They will fly the defined route and send real-time images showing the line’s condition, meaning necessary decisions regarding the next steps can be made immediately. Depending on the case, the use of drones will result in a huge amount of time saved, therefore minimising line closures. Passengers and railway companies can adapt more quickly to the new situation thanks to this rapid development of information.

“Hangar-based drone flights are the technological answer to the strongly growing drone ecosystem. Frequentis has developed a highly automated solution that can be fully integrated into control centres and working positions of big infrastructure companies, as well as being easy to use for our clients’ employees,” says Norbert Haslacher, CEO Frequentis. “We are proud to carry out this pioneering work together with ÖBB and to have helped facilitate the first authorisation of this kind in Europe for our partner.”

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