3D Pantograph Inspection System


The system for the 3D visual inspection of the pantograph is a wayside system that acquires high resolution coloured images of the pantographs of the trains passing on the monitored track, to evaluate and assess the status of the pantograph.

The maximum working speed of the system is for trains running up to 320km/h and the acquisition is clear under any weather condition.

The acquired images are locally processed and the output is immediately noticed to the infrastructure management system together with the images and the 3D point cloud reconstruction for manual check and storage.

Starting from the point cloud analysis, the system automatically recognizes the model of the pantograph and checks its wear and geometrical conditions accordingly to the reference standard STF RFI DTC STS ENE SP IFS TE070A.

Any detected anomaly is promptly communicated to the infrastructure management system.

The authorized personnel can easily access all the collected information, the acquired images, the 3D point cloud of any examined pantograph and the list of parameters together with the list of reports can be consulted through a web application.

The wayside system is equipped with a local memory unit where the captured images are temporarily stored to prevent data loss caused, e.g., by a power failure or by the drop of the data connection.

The data transfer from the acquisition point to the competent management system can be based on an existing data communication infrastructure or by a new fibre optic dedicated cabling.


The 3D Pantograph Visual Inspection system is based on multiple innovative features:

  • Interception system to catch the approaching train
  • Hi-Res colour image for detailed 3D reconstruction
  • Machine learning algorithms for pantograph model recognition
  • Stereo-vision acquisition system for the 3D pantograph reconstruction
  • Lighting system for optimized image acquisition under any weather condition
  • Internal processing and storage units for faster elaboration and to prevent data loss
  • Real Time image transfer from the wayside system to the competent management system
  • Automatic recognition of the train code by means of a PIC platform or by reading the train code with an OCR or RFId device
  • User friendly software interface.


The acquisition of high-resolution colour images and the three-dimensional reconstruction of the pantographs allows to:

  • Check the pantograph efficiency without stopping the rolling stock
  • Schedule extraordinary maintenance activities in case of anomalous wear detection
  • Reduce or cancel traffic service failures
  • Reduce the management costs of the infrastructure manager
  • Reduce the maintenance costs of the rolling stock operator
  • Improve the safety standards.


The 3D Pantograph Video Inspection system is designed to minimize the problems associated with its installation and maintenance.

The way side system’s components are installed outside the “zone of respect” needed for the Electric Traction, therefore the maintenance is easy and doesn’t interfere with the normal transit of the trains. The following images show an example of the design and the installation of the way side system.