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How autonomous trains will drive African railway

When Africa's first high-speed rail system begins service in Morocco in 2018, travel time from Tangier to Casablanca will be cut in half, from five hours to 2 hrs 10 min. Here an engine is being loaded onto a customised truck for transport to the railroad. Africa is constantly improving its rail systems, and autonomous trains will be the next essential innovation. Image courtesy: Morocco World News https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2015/07/162167/in-pictures-moroccos-tgv-africas-first-high-speed-train/

When Africa’s first high-speed rail system begins service in Morocco in 2018, travel time from Tangier to Casablanca will be cut in half, from five hours to 2 hrs 10 min. Here an engine is being loaded onto a customised truck for transport to the railroad. Africa is constantly improving its rail systems, and autonomous trains will be the next essential innovation. Image courtesy: Morocco World News. Available from: https://tinyurl.com/hukpyqw

While upgrading national systems with an eye at a unified continental system, African railways won’t be left behind in the next technological leap toward self-driving transportation.

 

IOA analysis in briefTrains will drive themselves across Africa’s terrain in the near future, with the technology available today to make autonomous engines that are safer, more efficient, reliable and environmentally friendly than the human-driven type. If Africa’s rail systems do not adapt to the new technology, they will become extinct in a new age of self-driving long haul truck transportation.

Key points:

  • Autonomous trains are a reality today, but require massive spending on new technology
  • Most African railroads are owned by governments or linked to governments, which hinders adaptability and innovation
  • Africa is dedicated to its rail system, with 11,000 km of new line now being built at a cost of US$ 30 billion

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