Landslide Prevention by Drone—How Swiss Federal Railways Uses Hill Scan to Map Mountainous Terrain

Zacc Dukowitz

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Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), the largest public transportation company in Switzerland, has been using special drone software to help improve its rockslide inspections.

The software is made by Drone Harmony and it's called Hill Scan. Hill Scan helps pilots with the creation of automated flight mission planning.

Using maps made with data captured by Hill Scan, along with traditional rockslide inspection methods like terrestrial laser scanning—a ground-based version of LiDAR—SBB inspectors are getting a more robust dataset to work from in determining the threat level of rockslides in a given area.


SBB is on the cutting edge of technology, and has been using drones as an aerial data collection tool for several years. In 2017, the company created its Center of Competence for Drones, which currently contains a fleet of 80 drones operated by over 100 specially trained pilots.

Read today's post to learn how SBB is using Hill Scan to improve its rockslide and landslide inspections, and improve overall safety both for inspectors and for everyone using the company's rail lines.

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