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Decoding secrets of China’s 350 km/h self-driving Fuxing train

(People's Daily Online)    14:57, January 07, 2019

One of the newly developed Fuxing bullet trains is shown at an exhibition in Beijing on Monday. [Photo by Cheng Gong/China Daily]

China’s top railway operator announced on Wednesday that the country’s bullet train Fuxing will become the world’s first self-driving high-speed train, with a top speed of 350 kilometers per hour.

The secret to such a remarkable achievement is an autopilot system for high-speed trains – CTCS3+ATO.

This string of letters and numbers is somewhat confusing, so let’s take a look at what this system actually is.

What is the CTCS3+ATO system?

This system is a set of automatic train operation (ATO) devices that can be installed on the existing operating and control system of the bullet trains. It allows the train to depart, run and stop automatically. Additionally, the doors can open automatically upon arrival at each station, as the doors will be connected to the platform shield gates.

The trains will also be able to adjust their highest operational speed without human intervention, to guarantee more precise schedules and higher transportation capacity.

What are its advantages?

The first of its kind, the system marks a technological step in making bullet trains more intelligent.

It can improve the functionality of the operation and control system of high-speed trains, and can accurately control the speed of the train using smart computing.

The system comprehensively improves overall train control, precision stopping and reduces energy consumption.

Will train drivers be unemployed?

No, they won’t. Most of the time, they won't be responsible for driving the train, but qualified drivers are still necessary for emergencies. China’s high-speed rail network has been constructed on complex terrains, and emergencies can occur. The timely intervention of a human driver is essential.

Of course, the smart driving system will relieve the pressure of train drivers and improve operational efficiency. It can also enhance the passenger's experience. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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