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USA trade unions claim Parallel Systems autonomous rail vehicles unsafe

19 March 2024
Reading time ~ 1 min
The Parallel Systems Mark 2 (second generation)
The Parallel Systems Mark 2 (second generation). Source: Parallel Systems
Krechetov Dmitry, Editorial Contributor
Reading time ~ 1 min
Yashchenko Olga, Editorial Contributor to International Projects, ROLLINGSTOCK Agency

USA: Within public hearings, representatives of numerous trade unions urged the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to reject or at least restrict the tests of the new self-propelled rolling stock technology, planned to be conducted in Georgia.

Vince Verna, Vice President of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, says the trade union has safety concerns about the ability of the unmanned railcars to efficiently react to people on the right-of-way. Besides, its batteries could cause firefighting problems in case of derailment.

In his turn, Jared Cassity, SMART-TD union’s Chief of Safety, claims that the railcars’ software is vulnerable to cyber attacks and lacks the programming to make the vehicle secure from running on the occupied track. Additionally, the horn is not sufficiently audible for motorists at a highway-rail grade crossing.

At the same time, the FRA has so far received 19 written comments on the Parallel Systems test programme. A range of agencies and officials mostly support the tests.

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