智能轨道Au­tonomous Rail

China Pictorial (English) - - Buzzwords - Edited by Li Zhuoxi

Also known as vir­tual rail, au­tonomous rail helps trains en­joy smart op­er­a­tion on a vir­tual track through sen­sors.

June 2, 2017 wit­nessed the de­but of an au­tonomous rail ex­press tran­sit sys­tem, the first of its kind in the world, in­de­pen­dently de­vel­oped by CRRC Zhuzhou In­sti­tute Co., Ltd. An in­te­gra­tion of mod­ern trams and buses, the sys­tem is con­sid­ered cut­ting- edge pub­lic trans­porta­tion and a vi­able so­lu­tion for large and medium-sized cities.

Vir­tual rail track­ing con­trol tech­nol­ogy de­vel­oped by CRRC Zhuzhou In­sti­tute Co., Ltd. used in the au­tonomous rail ex­press tran­sit sys­tem pre­cisely com­mands op­er­a­tions on the vir­tual track, with sen­sors de­tect­ing the pos­ture and co­or­di­nates of the train. Com­pared to tra­di­tional means of trans­porta­tion, it en­joys ad­van­tages in flex­i­bil­ity, safety, en­ergy sav­ing, trans­port ca­pac­ity and cost.

An au­tonomous rail can ad­just its own trans­port ca­pac­ity with changes of pas­sen­ger flow: It op­er­ates three car­riages when ex­pect­ing 300 pas­sen­gers and five when ex­pect­ing 500, thus cut­ting waste sig­nif­i­cantly.

The big­gest cost sav­ing ar­rives on ini­tial investment, be­cause no tracks are needed for the un­manned ve­hi­cle, which drives on vir­tual rails. This is very at­trac­tive con­sid­er­ing the price tag of mag­netic sus­pen­sion used in sub­ways and light rails. To­day, in China, it costs some 400 to 700 mil­lion yuan to build a kilo­me­ter of metro, and 150 to 200 mil­lion yuan per kilo­me­ter of mod­ern tram. For au­tonomous rails, how­ever, for the same trans­port ca­pac­ity, it would cost only a fifth of the cost of a tram by ren­o­vat­ing ex­ist­ing roads.

Fur­ther­more, the bat­tery- pow­ered en­gine is more ef­fi­cient and en­vi­ron­men­tally-friendly: A 10-minute recharge of a lithi­umti­tanate bat­tery en­ables 25 kilo­me­ters of op­er­a­tion.

A demon­stra­tion route is ex­pected to open for com­mer­cial op­er­a­tion in 2018.

The train for the smart track ex­press sys­tem is about 30 me­ters long and fol­lows a vir­tual route guided by var­i­ous sen­sors. It can even run with­out a pi­lot. IC

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