Norfolk Southern launches AI train inspection technology

ATLANTA, Oct. 26, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Norfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE: NSC) is deploying Digital Train Inspection Portals to enhance rail safety across the company's 22-state network. The portals feature cutting-edge Machine Vision Inspection technology developed in partnership with the Georgia Tech Research Institution (GTRI), who engineered the hardware, and Norfolk Southern's Data Science/Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Mechanical teams, who built the brains behind the program.

The project aims to supercharge Norfolk Southern's safety infrastructure and inspection processes with over a dozen portals to be deployed by the end of 2024. Norfolk Southern leveraged GTRI's expertise in advanced technology solutions that has already helped further national security and economic development.

"We are a safe railroad, and we're going above and beyond to become even safer," said Norfolk Southern President and CEO Alan H. Shaw. "These new portals combine advanced technology with human expertise, giving our people and the public further confidence in Norfolk Southern's safe operations. It's all part of our promise to become the gold standard of safety in the rail industry."

This end-to-end process includes hardware, software, and people. First, the Digital Train Inspection Portals are equipped with an array of 24-megapixel trackside cameras and stadium lighting. Together, this Machine Vision Inspection technology captures ultra-high-resolution, 360-degree images of passing railcars. The cameras are synced to the microsecond, taking 1,000 images per rail car on average as they pass through the tunnel at speeds up to 70 miles per hour. The high-speed cameras are strategically placed at angles to capture things that are difficult to detect with the human eye during stationary inspections. In addition, capturing images while the train is in a dynamic state provides an inspection for various defects that cannot be done while the train is stationary.

AI analyzes these images for potential defects. Norfolk Southern's in-house Data Science/AI team has developed 38 advanced Deep Learning algorithms and already deployed them across heavily trafficked lanes. These best-in-class, field-proven algorithms have demonstrated very high accuracy levels, while having very low false-positives. The AI transmits the information to Norfolk Southern's Network Operations Center where the data is reviewed by subject-matter experts to identify and address issues to proactively ensure the safety of rail operations. Critical defects found are flagged for immediate handling.

The first portal was deployed in Leetonia, Ohio, where trains pass through approximately every hour. Media can access additional video footage and visuals from the deployment here.

About Norfolk Southern
Since 1827, Norfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE: NSC) and its predecessor companies have safely moved the goods and materials that drive the U.S. economy. Today, it operates a customer-centric and operations-driven freight transportation network. Committed to furthering sustainability, Norfolk Southern helps its customers avoid approximately 15 million tons of yearly carbon emissions by shipping via rail. Its dedicated team members deliver more than 7 million carloads annually, from agriculture to consumer goods, and is the largest rail shipper of auto products and metals in North America. Norfolk Southern also has the most extensive intermodal network in the eastern U.S., serving a majority of the country's population and manufacturing base, with connections to every major container port on the Atlantic coast as well as the Gulf of Mexico and Great Lakes. Learn more by visiting

About Georgia Technology Research Institute
The Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) is the nonprofit, applied research division of the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). Founded in 1934 as the Engineering Experiment Station, GTRI has grown to more than 2,900 employees, supporting eight laboratories in over 20 locations around the country and performing more than $940 million of problem-solving research annually for government and industry. GTRI's renowned researchers combine science, engineering, economics, policy, and technical expertise to solve complex problems for the U.S. federal government, state, and industry.


SOURCE Norfolk Southern Corporation

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