Parallel Systems, a company founded to create autonomous battery-electric rail vehicles, today publicly introduced its second generation vehicle. The new vehicle is designed to be used in pilot testing on existing rail networks in the U.S. and internationally.
Parallel believe the second generation vehicle is a significant improvement over the it’s first-generation vehicle. It is lighter, more aerodynamic, and has a longer range. It also includes new features such as autonomous operation and platooning.
Platooning is a technology that allows multiple rail vehicles to travel closely together, reducing aerodynamic drag and improving fuel efficiency. Parallel's second generation vehicle can form platoons of up to 50 cars. The platooning is fully automated with the railcars not needing hook or unhook – They simply move closer to each other and initiate contact through the bumpers to form the platoons.
The second generation vehicle is currently undergoing testing at Parallel's Southern California test track. The company plans to begin track-worthiness testing with MxV Rail, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Association of American Railroads, in Pueblo, Colorado in 2024.
Parallel is working with real-world customers to bring the second generation rail vehicles to existing rail networks, with the company believing that its technology has the potential to revolutionize freight transportation, by reducing emissions and improving efficiency.
"We are excited to introduce our second generation vehicle, which represents a significant step forward in our mission to create a more sustainable and efficient freight transportation system," said Matt Soule, Co-founder and CEO of Parallel Systems. "We believe that our technology has the potential to make a real difference in the fight against climate change."
Parallel Systems is not the only company developing autonomous rail vehicles with other companies in this space include Railinc and Wabtec, however, Parallel Systems second generation vehicle is a step forward for the technology.
As reported in Rail Technology Magazine earlier this summer, two rail lines in Georgia – Central Railway and Heart of Georgia Railroad, both ran by Genasee and Wyoming (G&W) applied to the authorities to begin trialling autonomous battery-powered wagons next year. If approved, it would allow Parallel Systems to demonstrate the technology in a field setting.
Photo Credit: Parallel Systems