Demand for Faster Transportation Boosts Autonomous Trains Market
Autonomous technologies are paving their way into the market as futuristic transportation. Despite the cars and aircraft, demand for autonomous trains has been thriving and evolving significantly as transportation receives a fresh perspective.
Presently, metros and other areas are connected by conventional trains. However, the adoption of maximum automation is being noticed across the rail industry, which is expected to boost the global autonomous trains market. The future unveils data-driven, shared, automated, connected, and on-demand transportation. This is expected to lead to the development of automated trains that function without any manual supervision.
Autonomous trains are classified based on levels of automation involved in the operation. The trains that operate automatically with minimal or no human intervention, monitored from a control station, are termed autonomous trains or driverless trains.
The parent rail industry exhibits a moderate upward growth trajectory based on the developments and rising connections between megacities and rural areas. This industry is predicted to grow at a growth rate of nearly 2% in the next couple of years. Infrastructure and uptake of automation in the rail industry are the most sought-after development areas in the rail industry depicting a growth of nearly 2.9%. This rise is likely to be evident on account of the developments expected in the Asian countries over the forecast tenure.
Digitalization and Improved Mobility Givers Autonomous Trains Market a Boost
Improved energy efficacy, enhanced safety, and minimized costs are some of the factors keeping the autonomous train market growth upbeat over the last decade. High-speed train mishaps and passenger injuries caused during door operations have led to nearly 1900 accidents collectively, in Europe alone. This posed a major concern, which has been the prime area of troubleshooting for players to boost autonomous train deployment significantly. In the light of mitigating fatalities and major mishaps, autonomous train technologies are likely to be one of the game-changers for the rail industry in the foreseeable future.
Light rail provides a solution to road transport, which is cost-effective less pollutant and a better alternative. High-speed trains are one of the best-suited alternatives for short-distance flights between major metropolises.
Mounting concerns about environmental sustainability due to snowballing carbon footprint have pushed regulatory bodies across the globe to take corrective actions and deploy necessary rail routes with electrified trains. All these factors are in turn have bolstered the market demand over the years.
Digitalisation and urbanisation are some of the megatrends that are redefining the utilisation of energy in the transportation sector. Connectivity, analytics, shared mobility, and mobility-as-a-service system within rail mode are some of the upcoming trends.
Digitalisation has been at the forefront in reducing the distance and time between trains with intensive exploitation of tracks eventually providing better end-user experience while maintaining safety standards. The rail transport system is playing a pivotal role in moving passengers and freight amidst the high demand and heavily used routes. Closed and secured lines are already witnessing the deployment of the automated rails. However, efforts are made to deploy the autonomous trains on unsecured and uncontrolled lines as well. All these attributes have been consistently monitored and accordingly technological developments followed suit in designing automated trains.
Slowdown with COVID-19 Delays Projects
Impact on the global economy and rail industry continues due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as the world is likely to slowly shift from lockdown to adaptation phase and start living with the virus with precautionary measures. COVID-19 has compelled many nations to impose lockdowns and shut business for a prolonged time. This in turn has increased the demand-supply gap and equally raising the concerns of business viability. Lockdown had put forth barriers in the supply chain operations, as a result, the market is expected to slow down for a year or two.
Eventually, rising production costs and squeezing profitability margin are becoming of utmost importance for the manufacturers. Additionally, maintaining the hygienic condition at the workplaces along with recurrent sanitization is inviting additional costs. It would be evident in the first half of 2021, post exhausting the utility of government financial stimulus, how the economic scarring would turn out. Due to reduced labour and distanced working conditions sluggish project progression is apparent.
Autonomous Trains Picking Up the Pace
Autonomous train market study is segmented by the level of automation, such as GoA1 which involves a driver that controls the train operations and GoA2 which comprises automatic train stoppage, although the start operation needs a driver. Meanwhile, the GoA 3 level of automation involves automated start and stop function, however, there is a train attendant to operate the doors and to override the train operations in the event of emergencies and lastly, GoA 4 that has unattended train operations (UTO), with automated start/stop, automated doors, and emergency situations are well controlled automatically without any human intervention.
For the purpose of this study, Fairfield Market Research has segmented the autonomous train market report primarily on the basis of the level of automation inclusive of GoA1, GoA2, GoA3, GoA4, train type that includes long-distance train, suburban, tram, monorail, subway/metro, components including radar module, optical sensor & camera, odometer, antenna, lidar module, infrared camera and technology comprising of CBTC, ERTMS, ATC, and PTC.
National Budget Allocation towards Rail Infrastructure in India Puts Asia Pacific in the Lead
Europe and Asia Pacific regions are leading the autonomous train industry with the deployment of the automated rails. Asia Pacific, over the last decade, has seen some of the significant developments that have grabbed worldwide attention. As per last year, there are nearly 64 autonomous trains that travel in 42 cities in different regions of the globe, according to the International Association of Public Transport (UITP).
Increasing allocation of the budget towards the railway infrastructure and the necessary technology is turning out to be one of the topmost priorities for the governments in the Asian countries. India has been in the limelight of the autonomous market proliferation as the government made announced allocation of nearly US$ 21 Bn in 2018 and US$ 17 Bn showcasing increased attention.
Some of the cities that have already operating autonomous trains include Nuremberg, Singapore, and Paris. However, they are local trains utilized for local transport and are of the level GoA2 and GoA3. Most of the operators, unlike French operator SNCF, are likely to deploy its TGV high-speed autonomous train by 2023. Similarly, Deutsche Bahn will introduce a few autonomous trains latest by 2023. With the successful implementation of the autonomous train in Rio Tinto many manufacturers are eyeing significant developments in the European and North American region, considering their existing complex network of rail routes.
Stiff Competition Urging Key Players to Collaborate Through Technological Synergy
Key market players in the autonomous trains market are making immense strides to acquire a significant chunk of the market share. Players are expected to focus on inorganic growth strategies to stay ahead of the competition. For instance, Alstom has completed Bombardier's acquisition in 2021, thereby taming to be one of the leading market players.
Key players steering the autonomous train market development comprise of Alstom, ABB, CRRC Corporation Limited, GE Transportation (acquired by Wabtec), Hitachi Ltd., Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd., MITSUBISHI HEAVY INDUSTRIES, LTD., Siemens, and Thales Group.