News & Reviews News Wire Parallel Systems demonstrates autonomous freight car system in Australia

Parallel Systems demonstrates autonomous freight car system in Australia

By Bill Stephens | December 7, 2023

Arc Infrastructure envisions using the autonomous intermodal cars at a new port planned for Perth

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Arc Infrastructure on Dec. 7, 2023, demonstrates the Hiivr autonomous railcar system it developed with Los Angeles-based Parallel Systems. Parallel Systems

Parallel Systems, the Los Angeles-based startup that’s developing an autonomous, battery-electric, self-propelled intermodal freight car system, today demonstrated a prototype it developed for Australian railroad operator Arc Infrastructure.

Arc, which manages and operates 3,400 miles of railroad in southwestern Australia, conducted the demonstration at its Kenwick Rail Freight Facility for government and industry officials, the company said.

The prototype is the combination of Arc’s business concept and local knowledge with Parallel Systems’ technology and experience in developing electric, autonomous rail vehicles, the companies said.

Arc is eyeing Parallel’s system for a container port planned for Perth. Dubbed Hiivr Rail, the autonomous system has been under development for three years. The rail vehicle is designed to move single shipping containers within and out of the port without a traditional train.

“Designed with the future Westport in mind, the Hiivr Rail concept would see containers move directly from a vessel to a future network of intermodal freight terminals and be available to customers within hours of being unloaded from the vessel. Intermodal locations which have a constrained footprint would be unlocked by the Hiivr Rail wagon,” Arc said.

The future Hiivr Rail fleet would be composed of individual, battery-powered, autonomous cars which can operate as a single car or together as a fleet.

Hiivr Rail’s autonomous wagons could be assembled locally at the Bellevue Railcar Assembly Facility, leveraging Western Australia’s existing local automation and technology capabilities, strengthening rail manufacturing, and supporting local job creation, Arc said.

Next year Arc will focus on running mainline trials and continuing its collaboration with Parallel Systems, focusing on the technology integration of the Hiivr wagon with Arc’s train control systems.

“Westport presents a once in a lifetime opportunity to design a port with capability to support emerging technologies which represent the evolution of freight transportation. Hiivr Rail is an exciting new concept that allows us to reimagine the freight supply chain to meet Western Australia’s needs through the 21st century,” Murray Cook, Arc Infrastructure’s CEO, said in a statement.

In the U.S., a pair of Genesee & Wyoming short lines in Georgia are seeking Federal Railroad Administration permission to launch testing of Parallel’s system next year.

Standing beside the Parallel Systems autonomous car are, from left, Western Australia Deputy Premier Rita Saffioti, Arc Infrastructure CEO Murray Cook, and Parallel Systems co-founder and CEO Matt Soule. Parallel Systems

One thought on “Parallel Systems demonstrates autonomous freight car system in Australia

  1. What? No naysayers commented on this when everyone thought it was joke when first proposed. It’s seems I was right in my thinking of how it could be implemented as well as be successful.

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