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Photo: Thomas Nordmark

About the ePilot

The ePilot is a development and implementation project aimed at improving rail maintenance. The objective of the project is to improve punctuality and minimize interference in rail traffic as well as improve accessibility and quality, and also provide more efficient maintenance. Expectations are that this is achieved through the design of a decision support for maintenance.

The project is based on industry collaboration between infrastructure owners, railway companies, contractors, maintenance workshops, suppliers, innovators and the Railway Technical Center (JVTC) at Luleå University of Technology. The Swedish Transport Administration finances ePilot and the industry partners participate with their own time and knowledge. By creating a collaborative project, all actors want to jointly control the maintenance of the railway system so that the right things are done at the right time.

Measuring station in Sunderbyn used for data collection of wheel profiles

In order to create a better and more efficient maintenance work requires knowledge of the condition of the track and the vehicle, which the project will contribute. Together, the project partners creates a common platform for maintenance information, where refined and tailored information is available to all participants and provide a comprehensive view of the state of the transport system. The collection of condition data, as this information is called, is done to the eMaintenanceLAB at Luleå University of Technology. Based on these data a  decision support is designed for maintenance actions. A strength of the project is that it is based on existing results from completed development and research projects and will be through interaction, tested and implemented in the railway system. This provides greater opportunities for preventive maintenance, which is more cost-effective than corrective maintenance, which also contributes to a more dependable and robust transport system. Preventive maintenance that takes place before a problem occurs is 3-10 times cheaper than corrective maintenance that makes after an error occurred. In addition, corrective maintenance is much more expensive than preventive maintenance as it causes disruptions, train delays and shorter the life both on the track and vehicles.

As it seems now, both the track and the vehicles in Sweden are ageing, and at the same time there is an increase in transportations on railway. This means that there is a great need for upgrading and more efficient maintenance measures to create a reliable and safe railway.

During 2014 to 2016, the first collaborative project in ePilot was executed at track section 119 between Boden and Luleå. Since the project has been successful by proving good solutions, ePilot 2.0 continues in other parts of the railway network during the coming years.

During 2017, the ePilot won the Strukton Innovation Award.

During 2020. ePilot took a spot on IVA:s 100-list.