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The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has published a report on the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) at railroads around the world.Commonly known as drones, UAS can be deployed for inspecting track, assessing damage after natural disasters and a host of other applications.The FRA's report details use cases at railroads in the United Kingdom, Germany, Israel, the Netherlands and France. SNCF, France's state-owned railroad, has been experimenting with UAS since early 2013, according to the report. The French rail company has used the technology to identify thieves targeting copper cables.Meanwhile, Germany's Deutsche Bahn began deploying UAS in 2013 to combat graffiti-spraying gangs. "UAS technology is particularly appealing to the railroad industry," FRA officials said in the report. "Benefits include enhancing inspection capabilities to improve safety and increasing inspection frequencies and efficiencies."To learn more about drone use cases in North America, read this feature from Progressive Railroading's March 2017 issue.