Classification of Faults in Railway Ties Using Computer Vision and Machine Learning
This work focuses on automated classification of railway ties based on their condition using aerial imagery. Four approaches are explored and compared to achieve this goal - handcrafted features, HOG features, transfer learning and proposed CNN architecture. Mean test accuracy per class and Quadratic Weighted Kappa score are used as performance metrics, particularly suited for the ordered classification in this work. Transfer learning approach outperforms the handcrafted features and HOG features by a significant margin. The proposed CNN architecture caters to the unique nature of the railway tie images and their defects. The performance of this approach is superior to the handcrafted and HOG features. It also shows a significant reduction in the number of parameters as compared to the transfer learning approach. Data augmentation boosts the performance of all approaches. The problem of label noise is also analyzed. The techniques proposed in this work will help in reducing the time, cost and dependency on experts involved in traditional railway tie inspections and will facilitate efficient documentation and planning for maintenance of railway ties.