Automation is trending in the automotive and transportation industry. Freight trains are utilized for transportation of goods and commodities over a long distance. Safety and punctuality of freight train is of high importance and hence, autonomous trains that are preferred for passenger transport, are being utilized for freight transportation. Demand for autonomous freight trains from private freight transporting companies is anticipated to rise in the near future. Adoption of automation in passenger transporting trains, such as metro, suburban, and monorails, is rising in order to enhance safety and eliminate the number of fatal injuries occurring in train accidents. Moreover, freight transporting trains are also witnessing a rise in automation, in order to avoid accidents, crash with passenger trains, and loss of freight, which in turn is fueling the global autonomous freight trains market.

Enhanced safety of the freight being transported, reduced accidental rate, increased punctuality of the trains, and overall reduction in time required for transportation are primarily driving the global autonomous freight trains market. Autonomous trains are capable of detecting possible crash and component failure, which enables autonomous trains to take corrective action, such as braking and alerting the driver of the onboard crew members. Autonomous trains continuously monitor component-related data provided by the control unit. Based on that data, alert is prompted in order to take corrective measures. Elimination of onboard crew, increase in component life, and reduction of overall expenditure are prominent factors driving the global autonomous trains market.

The high initial cost of building infrastructure is a major factor restraining the global autonomous freight trains market. Moreover, complete or marginal changes in infrastructure are required for proper implementation of autonomous trains, which increases the initial cost.

The global autonomous freight trains market can be segmented based on grades of automation (GoA), ownership type, signaling and communication technology, and region. In terms of grades of automation, the global autonomous freight trains market can be divided into four segments. GoA 1 and GoA 2 trains are partially automated. These trains includes several automated operations, such as automatic train protection, automatic train operation, setting train in motion, and stopping the train. All these operations are performed under the driver’s supervision and onboard crew members’ surveillance. Rise in grade of automation leads to an increase in number of autonomous operations. Considering the exhaustive changes required for shifting to GoA 3 and GoA 4, freight train operating bodies are preferring for GoA 1 and GoA 2 levels of train automation, in order to enhance safety and punctuality.

Based on ownership type, the global autonomous freight trains market can be classified into two segments. Rate of adoption of automation in privately operated freight trains is considerably high. Private freight train operators prefer the incorporation of autonomous systems in their trains in order to reduce overall expenditure over halting the train, component maintenance, crash, and train derailment.

Based on signaling and communication system, the global autonomous freight trains market can be segregated into four segments. European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) is deployed across Europe. The rail traffic management system has been proven to be a reliable technology in order to avoid train crashes and enhance train punctuality. Positive Train Control (PTC) is a technology that is adopted by countries in North America.

In terms of region, the global autonomous freight trains market can be segmented into five prominent regions. Rio Tinto, a leading global mining and metal corporation, based in Australia, recently launched the world’s first self-driving freight train. The train successfully ran for 60 miles without human interruption. Governments of China and India are focused on adoption of advanced train technologies in order to enhance train safety and reduce unnecessary expenses over train crash and maintenance. Therefore, governing bodies across the globe are expected to adopt the autonomous freight train technology, intensively. Asia Pacific leads the global autonomous freight trains market, which is attributed to the government initiative for automated transportation and increased demand for passenger and train safety.

The global autonomous freight trains market comprises key players such as Bombardier Transportation, Siemens AG, Thales Group, Alstom, Mitsubishi Electric, CRRC Corporation limited, Hitachi Ltd., and Ansaldo STS.

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