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Automated railways being tested

Updated: May 2,2018 9:00 AM     China Daily

China’s high-speed rail service will enter the era of automated driving once the core technologies and products are all domestically made, one of its designers said on May 1.

Zhou Zhiliang, chairman of China Railway Signal and Communication Co, the country’s railway control systems provider, said the group has built in Beijing the world’s largest simulation laboratory for automated railway control systems, shrugging off a reliance on foreign products and technologies that come at higher costs.

The laboratory can carry out comprehensive simulation tests for 2,000 kilometers of high-speed railways, 1,000 kilometers of intercity railways, 100 kilometers of subways and five large-scale freight marshaling yards at the same time.

It has implemented next-generation train control systems and intelligent integrated transportation systems based on China’s Beidou Navigation Satellite System.

Supported by domestically developed technologies, Zhou said, China’s intercity railways, subways, low-and medium-speed magnetic levitation lines and freight trains will all be able to be equipped with automated driving systems in the future.

In the field of developing intercity railway service, Zhou said CRSC and its infrastructure construction partners are building the world’s first self-guided railroad, between Dongguan and Huizhou in Guangdong province. The railroad will be completed by the end of this year.

The Beijing-headquartered group will field-test the world’s first automated drive high-speed system, with a designed speed up to 350 kilometers per hour, on the railway line that will link Beijing and Zhangjiakou, host cities of the 2022 Winter Olympics. It has already completed all the tests at the simulation laboratory.

“It will become China’s first smart railroad,” said Zhou. “All prototype vehicles will be built by the end of this year, and CRSC will conduct debugging and test verification works in the first half of 2019.”

Under the government plan, there will be 10 stations along the line, each of them will be equipped with service robots to offer information services to the guests and carry their luggage.

“When compared with manual driving mode, the automated driving system is backed by a powerful operational control system to increase operation efficiency and avoid congestion, delays and accidents,” said Feng Hao, a researcher at the Institute of Comprehensive Transportation at the National Development and Reform Commission.

“It also involves the integration of China’s satellite positioning, power transmission and telecommunication technologies,” Feng said.

According to a report by the institute, China’s fixed-point automatic parking at the station came within 35 cm for high-speed trains in 2017.

China currently operates more than 25,000 kilometers of high-speed rail lines, accounting for 60 percent of the world’s total, it has become a strong competitor to airline flights of less than 1,500 kilometers, said Zhao Ying, a researcher at the Institute of Industrial Economics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing.

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