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T engineers send in the drones

Tunnel drone view

The MBTA reports that before it send actual inspectors into the Orange Line and Green Line tunnels under the partially collapsed Government Center Garage, it sent in drones today:

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Comments

Send in the Clowns

But I guess that just shows my age

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There must be drones. I'm an old fart too!
Now if we can just fit the drones with the proper tools... What a budget cutting tool they would be.

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roaming underground tunnels. That’s the good stuff.

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...about the drone that didn't return to the stable with the others.

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That's the ad I see when I look at this page on UHub. I guess the bots are trying to read my mind.

Should I send a drone over to pick up some sandwiches? Whatever they find in those tunnels would probably not be very appetizing.

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The Subway at the subway at Mass. Ave. on the Orange Line.

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aka a remote-controlled inspection cart, but I guess this works too!

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Situations where the tunnels are potentially unsafe for even the engineering crew to enter are uncommon enough that the T doesn't need a dedicated vehicle.

Although it is an interesting question if any of the trains support being controlled remotely.

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Perhaps borrow bomb-squad robot - wouldn't be surprised if State Police have one for MassPort.
It would have cameras, microphones.... Remote-control... Some models might have "sniffer" capabilities - could see that being adapted to look for fissures/leaks or blockages by "smoking the hull", seeing if gasses are trapped or moving in surprising spaces, maybe wire in CO and CO2 detectors...

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a vehicle that rides the rails is not the best tool.

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Sure it is. Best way to test derailing risk is with something that will derail

https://images.app.goo.gl/EJJP8VBg3XfyAT8n9

More seriously, they're looking for more than just damaged rail.
Also, in some rail systems (don't know if that includes T), some of the signals are conducted along continuous welded rail. Rail damage might be indicated by variations in signal strength.

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can be done from the end points. If they actually transmit signals over the rails, they could look for damage by treating it as a transmission line, and looking at the reflections.

Sorry, extremely minor point. I have an electrical engineering degree, and I have to get some use out of it occasionally.

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Good stuff.

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The drone's propellers are going to kick up a fair amount of dust and crud and the spotlight positioned just above the camera lens is going to make that dust more apparent than it would be if you were to stand in the tunnel.

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