J. Riley Edwards - Graduated: May 2006 - M.S.

J. Riley Edwards  received his B.E., Vanderbilt University , 2004. He entered the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2004 and received his M.S. in Civil Engineering with a focus in railroad engineering in May 2006. His reseach focused on machine vision. Machine vision technology has the potential to substantially improve the efficiency and effectiveness of railcar safety appliance inspection by increasing the speed, accuracy, and objectivity of the process. Laboratory and field studies were conducted to develop and successfully demonstrate the feasibility of its use for safety appliance inspection. Safety appliances are used by railroad employees to mount and dismount cars, apply and release hand brakes, uncouple cars, and perform other duties related to safe and efficient railway operation. Maintaining them in proper working order is required by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and regulations specify their proper condition. Safety appliances are inspected every time a railcar departs a rail yard and at times between yards. These inspections are a manual, labor-intensive process. Data were analyzed to understand the scope of safety appliance deformation and defects, where they occur, how many fatalities and injuries they cause, the cost of repairs, differences in inspection procedures, and the regulations governing inspections. A simple, qualitative model was developed of the effect of technology enhancement on the economic efficiency of inspection.


M.S. Thesis:



Edwards, J.R., J.M. Hart, S. Todorovic, C.P.L. Barkan, N. Ahuja, Z. Chua, N. Kocher, J. Zeman. Development of Machine Vision Technology for Railcar Safety Appliance Inspection. In Proceedings: International Heavy Haul Conference Specialist Technical Session - High Tech in Heavy Haul , Kiruna, Sweden, June 2007, pp. 745-752. 

Edwards, J.R, C.P.L. Barkan, S. Todorovic, J.M. Hart, and N. Ahuja  2006. Improving the efficiency and effectiveness of railcar safety appliance inspection using machine vision technology.  JRC2006-94052. Proceedings of the ASME Joint Rail Conference, Atlanta , GA   (April 2006)