Automated plant monitoring on Austria's railways and roads enables efficient and environmentally friendly vegetation control and increased safety.
Plants on traffic routes can damage structures and endanger safety. The removal of plants or the prevention of overgrowth means both a high financial cost for the operators of the traffic infrastructure, e.g. the Austrian Federal Railways and ASFiNAG, and a personal risk of accidents and damage for the users of this infrastructure.
In order to keep the impact on the environment low, plant protection products should only be used where absolutely necessary. To achieve this, on the one hand a selective and sparing use of chemical and biological plant protection products is necessary and on the other hand, depending on local conditions and existing vegetation, the use of mechanical and thermal measures is required. Some plant species can cause allergies, so knowledge of their locations is relevant for worker protection. In order to limit the spread of certain, very problematic plant species, early detection, the implementation of special measures and their success monitoring are necessary.
For all this, it is elementary to know which plant species grow where and to what extent. Only with this knowledge can plant species-dependent and environmentally compatible vegetation control measures be planned and efficiently implemented by infrastructure operators. This applies to transport infrastructure at the federal, state and municipal levels.
The prototype system developed in the FloraMon project is used for the area-wide collection of vegetation density as well as relevant and particularly problematic plant species. This includes the pictorial recording of plants along the rail and road network at very high speed, the detection of the location and frequency of occurrence of specific plant species (neophytes and others) using AI methods, and the clear presentation of this plant information in geographic information systems (GIS).
FloraMon Platform Services
- Image data management and processing
- Service-oriented architecture
- For private and public cloud
- Can be integrated into existing clusters
FloraMon Plant Detection
- AI based plant detection trained on thousands of annotated images.
- Detection of vegetation regions along the rail network
- Detection of seven specific plant species along road and rail (field horsetail, ragweed, tree of heaven, narrow-leaved ragwort, milkweed, buddleja, Japanese knotweed)
- GIS data preparation for users of plant information
- Vegetation and plant species density along the rail network
- Overview and individual regions of a specific plant species along rail and road
- Open, standardised interface for data exchange with ÖBB and ASFINAG GIS systems
Based on these FloraMon results, ÖBB and ASFiNAG will be able to efficiently plan and implement environmentally friendly vegetation control measures in the future, which will both reduce infrastructure maintenance costs and ensure the safety of road and rail users.
The FloraMon team combines the
- knowledge of ÖBB and ASFiNAG for the necessary vegetation control as well as the technical and operational framework with the biological knowledge of biohelp about occurrence and characteristics of the relevant plants and the technological research and development knowledge of JOANNEUM RESEARCH in the field of high-speed image acquisition, AI-based plant detection and GIS presentation in a cloud software.
The complementary knowledge enabled the development of the FloraMon system, which best meets the requirements of the transport infrastructure operators ÖBB and ASFiNAG.
FloraMon is funded by the Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMK), ÖBB Infrastruktur AG and ASFINAG as part of the program Mobility of the Future, thematic field Transport Infrastructure Research (vif).