Nomad Tech participates in the AutoScan project (Horizon 2020)

Thursday, 30th June 2016

Nomad Tech participates in the AutoScan project (Horizon 2020)

AutoScan is a consortium project of five European companies for the automation of railway track inspection; it has been granted funding by the European Commission “Fast track to Innovation” scheme, which promotes mature innovative concepts that have already been tested. AutoScan’s overall objective is to increase the efficiency of railway track defect inspection through an autonomous, efficient, lightweight and affordable inspection system. It will significantly reduce the time required to undertake inspection, therefore reducing the time that personnel are exposed to the potentially hazardous railway environment.

The system comprises a lightweight self‐powered cart designed to run along the track during breaks in service, simultaneously inspecting the rail head and accurately recording defects (as well as their accurate location and size). Inspection is performed by using a rapid non‐contact NDT technique based on Electro Magnetic Acoustic Transducer (EMATS) technology for a speedy initial scan, followed by a more exhaustive Alternating Current Field Measurement (ACFM) method for more accurate scanning and sizing of the previously located defect.
The combination of these two techniques will produce more reliable results than current solutions while increasing efficiency when compared with hand held scanners and train mounted inspection solutions.

Simultaneously, the inspection information is communicated to trackside receivers and then relayed to a central server, for monitoring and scheduling of the repair work. A graphical user interface will enable the user to control the system and retrieve and review defect data.

The main roles of each of five companies in the consortium are as follows:

AutoScan team


- I-moss (Belgium) – (project lead) produce a robust and commercially ready package for deployment of EMAT/ACFM sensors. Integrator and marketer of the full AutoScan system;

Promaut (Spain) - autonomous robot rail following system;

Nomad Tech (Portugal) – line-side control system utilising GPS/3G to record position of the robot cart as inspection is performed, in addition to receiving location based NDT data transmitted from the cart;

Univ. of Birmingham (UK) - provide existing prototype and support further development;

TWI Global (UK) - NDT validation and integration support.



​AutoScan will support the delivery of service objectives, as well as the increasing demands on the network, by delivering an autonomous, self‐powered, inspection system that is programmed to inspect a predetermined section of track, and other assets such as switches and crossings that the system will navigate. More information about the development of the project can be found at the official website: .

About the companies & contact information

I-moss (Belgium) -
I-moss designs, manufactures and installs customized measurement systems for the continuous monitoring of environmental parameters. Depending on the exact application, our systems are based on a wide range of sensor technologies, such as accelerometers, sensors (acoustic, optical, magnetic, etc.), cameras. I-moss also provides related services such as cloud storage of measurement data, measurement data analysis, periodic data reporting, sensor mounting and calibration.
AutoScan contact/information point: Dr. Frederik Vermeulen

Promaut (Spain) -
After 25 years of experience, PROMAUT S.L. is positioned in the industrial world as an engineering company specialized in automation, control and process surveillance, being able to offer technological solutions to customer complete value chain, from R&D and engineering to implementation and monitoring (simulation, mechanical and electrical engineering, PLC’S, robots and Scades programming, implementation, maintenance and technical service).
AutoScan contact/information point: Pere Padrós

Nomad Tech (Portugal) -
Nomad Tech is a global provider of innovative and cutting edge solutions in maintenance, energy efficiency and asset monitoring for the Rail Industry, enabling our customers to achieve higher levels of knowledge of the operating condition of their fleets, to apply significant cost saving measures and to improve their Safety and Quality records.
AutoScan contact/information point: Eng. Hélder Ribeiro

University of Birmingham (UK) -
The Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE) is based in the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences which is one of the five colleges at the University. BCRRE seek to translate research findings into tangible improvements and impacts on railways, with a particular focus on systems thinking and integration to design, maintenance and management.
AutoScan contact/information point: Dr. Edd Stewart

TWI Global (UK) -
TWI is one of the world’s foremost independent research and technology organisations, with expertise in materials joining and engineering processes as applied in industry. TWI specialises in innovation, knowledge transfer and in solving problems across all aspects of manufacturing, fabrication and whole-life integrity management.
AutoScan contact/information point: Dr. Richard Lewis

About “Fast Track to Innovation”
The Fast Track to Innovation (FTI) pilot provides funding for bottom-up proposals for close-to-market innovation activities in any area of technology or application. This thematic openness – combined with the possibility for all kinds of innovation actors to work together and deliver innovation onto the market and/or into society – should nurture trans-disciplinary and cross-sectoral cooperation.
The aim is to:

  • reduce time from idea to market,
  • stimulate the participation of first-time applicants to EU research funding, and
  • increase private sector investment in research and innovation.

More information: