ViSenSys

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ViSenSys

When machines learn to see: graffiti checks on passing trains

Dortmund-based start-up ViSenSys uses "machine seeing" for processes that normally need human eyes. The company is working with Deutsche Bahn to create a video recognition system that spots graffiti literally "in passing".

For people, watching security cameras is demanding work: it requires a lot of concentration, and peak performance lasts for just a limited period. By using machine learning, a form of artificial intelligence, ViSenSys can automatically assess video images, operate cameras mounted on signal bridges, identify moving ICE trains at key points in the rail network, and identify vehicles using their UIC number. Its system scans camera images so it can automatically identify the location and extent of graffiti on trains.

Known as "wayside monitoring", this technology makes it possible to optimize resource planning and speed up graffiti removal. Cleaning is also easier if graffiti is identified soon after it appears. Early identification and prompt planning means that trains can be redeployed quickly once they are free of graffiti again. Clean trains in turn mean happier customers.

Caption: The ViSenSys system makes it easier to identify graffiti and so remove it faster.

Trialed in 2019, the system will be left in place at the test site and installed at a new location at the end of 2020. Its successive expansion will enable us to inspect our entire long-distance fleet in Germany every day. The AI technology is already learning new uses as a tool to remove other kinds of defacement.

ViSenSys is developing intelligent checkers

Visual Sensor Systems, known as ViSenSys, was founded in 2017 by the technical university of TU Dortmund. The start-up is developing "intelligent checkers", composed of a camera system and image-processing software, for customers who can benefit from comprehensively automating visual inspections performed by people. This automation is delivered by modern algorithms from the fields of digital image processing and machine learning. In 2019, ViSenSys participated in the DB mindbox funding program for start-ups.