In Feb. 2023, one of Norfolk Southern's trains derailed, spilling hazardous chemicals on the tracks that caught fire.
Norfolk Southern has now installed the first automated inspection portal on its Ohio tracks, close to where the train derailed.
The portals are equipped with high-speed cameras which take several pictures of moving rail cars and locomotives. These are analyzed by an AI software.
The portals will be able to capture well-lit images of all sides of the train that passes.
Railroads have invested in these automated inspection systems to supplement human inspections in order to keep the trains safe.
The company plans to install at least a dozen more across its 22-state network in the East by the end of 2024, which will give it about 700 images per rail car.
Taken at 60 miles an hour, this technology specifically helps with spotting defects that develop while the train is moving, which a stationed human may miss.
The images will be processed instantly "and sent to people who can take action on those alerts in real-time," said the VP of safety, John Felps.