DroneRail execs are beginning to explore the capabilities of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for a variety of potential applications — including security. More commonly known as drones, these camera-equipped devices can help crews keep closer tabs on tracks and trains from afar.

Because UAVs can move quickly from one place to the next, they offer an advantage over fixed camera systems that criminals can evade.

“An unmanned aerial vehicle could be anywhere anytime, day or night,” said Richard Gent, a retired Naval intelligence officer who now serves as chief executive officer of rail security consulting firm Hot Rail LLC. “You’ve increased the workload for a bad guy or criminal because they don’t know where this thing is.”

Read more from Progressive Railroading.

BNSF_Color_LogoWebsite Xconomy.com is reporting that BNSF Railway will begin using aerial drones equipped with cameras to “conduct regular inspections of railway infrastructure and rights of way.”

According to the Federal Aviation Administration website, any operation that does not meet the statutory criteria for a public aircraft operation is considered a civil aircraft operation and must be conducted in accordance with all FAA regulations applicable to the operation.

A recent report in the St. Cloud Times says BNSF received an exemption to operate unmanned aerial vehicles for “evaluation and analysis of railroad infrastructure and operations.”