China to introduce new driverless trains by 2020

The new generation of autonomous maglev trains will reach the speed of 200 kph

The world’s most populous country has just revealed its plans for a more efficient transportation system. By early 2020, China wants to implement a new generation of autonomous maglev trains.

The new train will allow safer autopilot operation with a more “powerful brain" — noina / Shutterstoc
The new train will allow safer autopilot operation with a more “powerful brain” — noina / Shutterstock

With the speed reaching up to 200 kph, the trains will be only medium-low-speed. However, they will operate without a driver and will be the fastest commercial maglevs developed and built completely by Chinese firms.

The new project was developed by the CRRC Zhuzhou company, a subsidiary of the world’s largest train manufacturer — China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation. The 3.0 maglev will beat its predecessors with increased capacity, higher acceleration speeds and improved climbing abilities.

According to Zhou Qinghe, the company’s chairman, the new train will also allow safer autopilot operation with a more “powerful brain”.

The 3.0 maglev will be the first completely autonomous version

Despite maglev’s significant advantages such as high speed and low noise levels, the trains, which use magnetic repulsion to levitate up from the ground, have been adopted by only a few countries around the world. Apart from China, it has been popular in Japan and South Korea.

China has introduced its first maglev train in 2002 in Shanghai — Shutterstock
China has introduced its first maglev train in 2002 in Shanghai — Shutterstock

China has launched its first commercial maglev system in 2002. A 30-kilometre stretch between Shanghai Pudong Airport and the city centre runs up to around 400 kph and is the world’s fastest commercial maglev system to date.

The 1.0 version of autonomous maglev trains has been running in the capital city of China’s Hunan Province  — Changsha — for two years.

The city has also been testing the operation of the 2.0 version. However, unlike the upcoming 3.0 version, neither of those trains has been capable of driving without a human controller.