China: Pilotless Maglev Train by 2020

Global Times -CRRC, China’s high-speed railway manufacturer, is expected to roll out the next generation 200-kilometer-per-hour (kph) commercial pilotless maglev train at the beginning of 2020, Zhou Qinghe, chairman of CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive Co, said on Sunday.

CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive Co is a key high-speed train-maker under the state-owned rail firm CRRC, the world’s largest supplier of rail transit equipment.

Zhou stressed that the pilotless maglev train is the first in the global maglev system that can run at that speed, and the train’s patent is completely owned by China. 

According to Zhou, the new maglev train has achieved significant technological breakthroughs compared with earlier models, known as the commercial maglev 1.0 and 2.0, which have top speeds of 100 kph and 160 kph, respectively. The contactless power supply is replaced by a non-contact induction power supply. The traction motor is converted from the original short stator asynchronous motor to a long stator synchronous motor, and the traction inverter was also repositioned from the bottom of the train to the ground power station.

Traction efficiency of the new train has been improved by 40 percent, compared with the 1.0 type. The new train can accommodate more passengers and is suitable for use on intercity and innercity routes with a distance from 50 to 200 kilometers.

Zhou said the latest maglev train is also equipped with the “strongest brain,” which is controlled by a smart ground operation control system, which enables unmanned driving, vehicle wireless communication, online condition monitoring, big data analysis and other technologies. The “brain” can also diagnose faults in vehicles, tracks, and power supply in real time, ensuring safe and reliable operation.

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