BSNF Railroad will be testing UAVs with a FAA Exception to operate Beyond Line of Site. They have 32,500 miles of railroad track and are testing UAVs even with their limited ranges of around 4miles for some models. PrecisionHawk USA are providing the UAV aerial platforms.
The UAVs will be equipped with small LiDAR systems to detect cracks and other track defects. BNSF is also experimenting with a security observation role to keep the tracks clear due to trespassing on the right of way of the railroad tracks.