Sentinel, a smart system for managing and maintaining railway lines

The Sentinel project aims to develop a new prototype of a smart system for managing and maintaining railway infrastructure by using structured big data to get a fast, full picture of the state and evolution of the railway line.

  • €1.44 million Budget
  • €646,000 in ERDF Funds

The result is a precommercial product in the prototype testing phase for useful application in the medium term.

The consortium for this collaborative project includes Ferrovial Agroman (leader), Adif, Alstom, and Insitu. With a budget of €1.44 million, it was jointly financed with €646,000 from the EDRF (European Regional Development Fund) through CDTI´s Innterconecta program.

The project, which began in July 2016, aimed to integrate a data-capturing device into maintenance vehicles for railway lines and feed a database with a corresponding system of geographical information. That way, it can update an automatic or semi-automatic inventory of railway assets, at the same time as it reviews and evaluates parts of the railway, thereby optimizing maintenance operations.

This automated inventory of assets gives a fast, dynamic, combined panorama of all the pieces of infrastructure and parts of the network, such as lanes, tap bolts, railroad ties, markers, signals…

The system’s characteristics are continuity and precision, such that continually updating the inventory lets changes in the infrastructure parts be analyzed and tracked over time in order to predict changes, failures, or emergency situations, as well as allowing for monitoring of digital maintenance and inspection by maintenance personnel.

The assets monitored by the inventory have been grouped by subsystems, and the assets management software is capable of integrating them into Adif’s inventory database. Technology related to Industry 4.0 was used to develop it, including big data, machine learning, artificial intelligence and vision, models and simulations, European GNSS, and satellites.

The prototype’s validation tests, which were done in April 2018 on the high-speed Amussafes – Javea line and then in November of the same year on the high-speed Madrid – Chamartín y Torrejón de Velasco line which is currently under construction, consisted in integrating Lidar systems (which obtain 3D maps and images of the railway though dynamic scans by using technology called mobile mapping systems), GPS, cameras, and high-precision recorders, lighting… All this allowed digitalizing this new infrastructure at a traveling speed of 80 km/h on a maintenance vehicle equipped for the tests.

The system includes a software tool that lets the infrastructure parts such as lateral signals, markers, catenary posts, lane fasteners, detours, expansion apparatuses, etc. be inventoried and identified automatically.

Sentinel will allow ¡the assets inventory of the entire Adif infrastructure to be updated automatically in the short and medium term, giving access to real infrastructure data for an asset management system that will allow assets to be analyzed, predicted, and acted on efficiently.

General information

Project definition
Pilot date
April 2018
€1.44 million
Ferrovial Agroman (leader), Adif, Alstom, and Institu


  • Fondo europeo desarrollo regional
  • CDTI