Rail infrastructure

Laser and camera systems for condition monitoring of rail infrastructure

Fraunhofer IPM develops optical systems for the detection of contact wire wear, contact wire position, clearance profile, position of poles, rail profile, and train geometry. High resolution laser scanners combined with fast image processing provide the necessary measurement data, which is the basis for planning specific maintenance work. The sensors record the measurement data at travel speeds of 100 kilometers per hour and more – quickly, precisely and reliably. Fraunhofer IPM measuring systems are used worldwide to monitor the condition of railway networks.


3D Clearance Profile


Our laser scanners measure up to 554 profiles per second without contact. This way, objects in the track environment of only a few centimeters in size can be detected even at high travelling speeds.


Contact Wire Wear


The degree of wear of contact wires with a round cross-section can be calculated from the width of their sliding surface and should not fall below the specified values.


Contact Wire

A laser scanner measures up to ten contact wires simultaneously – independent of lighting conditions.


Pole Detection


The railway operators use position data from poles as a reference system to locate objects.


Tunnel Condition Monitoring

We develop solutions for efficient tunnel inspection during regular operation. Our measuring systems capture the tunnel geometry and surface structure of tunnel walls as well as wall moisture.


Vegetation monitoring

Vegetation monitoring on rail tracks is crucial for the safety of rail traffic. An optical system for automated green detection enables a more targeted application of herbicides and a long-term documentation of vegetation growth.


Train Monitoring


Four stationary laser scanners monitor train geometries at full speed.

As soon as the train has passed through the measuring portal, a 3D point cloud is available. It allows geometrical irregularities – such as protruding loads – to be detected.



Fraunhofer IPM is member of the Fraunhofer Traffic & Transport Alliance.