Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has developed an automated guideway transit system (AGT) with a maximum speed of 120 kilometers per hour.
The Tokyo-based industry giant hopes to sell its automated trains in rapidly developing countries that are looking to link urban centers with outlying areas.
According to Mitsubishi Heavy, the design of the automated guideway transit system makes it cheaper to build and operate than conventional railway systems.
Mitsubishi Heavy’s system uses rubber tires and runs on concrete tracks. Because it does not require rails or a gravel railway bed, the initial costs are 20-30% cheaper than conventional above ground railways and roughly half those of a subway. Moreover, the absence of rails makes construction of the track quicker and easier.
Rubber tires allow the cars to handle tighter curves and steeper slopes, which is ideal for cramped cities. The tires are paired, reducing wear and allowing the cars to run at speeds of up to 120 kph. This makes Mitsubishi Heavy’s AGT system the world’s fastest. Up to now, low operating speeds have limited the use of AGTs mostly to airport “people movers” with short hops between stations.
Each car has dozens of sensors capable of monitoring cars and tracks for malfunctions. The unmanned system can spot trouble before it becomes critical, which helps cut operating and maintenance costs.
The Japanese company aims to sell the system mainly in emerging markets in Africa and Southeast Asia, where growing populations are bringing traffic jams to cities.
In addition to locations in Japan, Mitsubishi Heavy AGTs are in operation at Dulles International Airport in Washington and Incheon International Airport near Seoul.
Excerpts and image from Nikkei Asian Review