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Parallel Methods raises $50M Collection A to construct autonomous battery-electric rail vehicles that transfer freight


Parallel Methods, an organization based by former SpaceX engineers to reimagine the railroad system, has raised $49.55 million in Collection A funds to construct autonomous battery-electric rail autos that transfer freight.

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The spherical is led by Anthos Capital, and consists of investments from Congruent Ventures, Riot Ventures, Embark Ventures, and others. The funds will likely be used to construct a fleet of rail autos, execute superior testing packages and develop the group. The corporate, which not too long ago got here out of stealth mode, has raised $53.15 million up to now, together with $3.6 million in seed funds.

We based Parallel to permit railroads to open new markets, improve infrastructure utilization, and enhance service to speed up freight decarbonization. Our enterprise mannequin is to provide railroads the instruments to transform a number of the $700-billion US trucking trade to rail. The Parallel system may also assist alleviate the provision chain disaster by enabling low value and common motion of freight out and in of ports. Parallel’s aggressive edge is our autonomous battery-electric rail autos, that are designed to maneuver freight cleaner, quicker, safer and extra cheaply than conventional trains or vans.

—Matt Soule, Co-founder and CEO, Parallel Methods

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Parallel’s autonomous battery-electric rail autos load and transport normal delivery containers as a single or double stacked load. The railcars, that are individually powered, can be a part of collectively to type platoons or break up off to a number of locations whereas en route. This considerably reduces the ready occasions related to loading trains which are miles lengthy. The
system can assist service at a spread of distances, from throughout a metropolis to throughout the nation.

Parallel’s distinctive structure can even bypass congested switching yards, that are traditionally used to type and reassemble freight manually onto secondary trains—saving hours, and even days, of transit time. The close to steady circulate of containers via terminals ends in better asset utilization, quicker supply occasions, and better high quality of service.

Parallel Rail Car Preliminary Specs

Propulsion Everlasting Magnet Synchronous Motor (PMSM)
Autonomous System Absolutely autonomous with bi-directional camera-based notion system
Payload Capability As much as 128,000 lbs. / 58,000 kg.(double stack container), 2.8x greater than a semi-truck
Vary As much as 500 mi. / 800 km. vary between costs; makes use of 25% of the power of a semi-truck
Charging Time Lower than 1 hour

Parallel’s freight transportation resolution is much more power environment friendly than freight practice as a result of it’s lighter and extra aerodynamic. The patent-pending platoon know-how options self-propelled rail vehicles that push towards one another to distribute the aerodynamic load. Parallel autos use simply 25% of the power in comparison with a semi-truck and provide the bottom operational value of any floor freight transportation mode. Much less power means smaller batteries, much less
pressure on the grid, and decrease charging infrastructure prices.

Parallel’s zero-emission autos may cut back the freight trade’s carbon emissions considerably. Trucking accounts for 444 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, or roughly 7%, of all CO2 equal greenhouse fuel (GHG) emissions in the USA, based on the 2019 US Environmental Safety Company figures.

New ranges of railway security are doable as a result of automobile’s skill to quickly detect hazards, comparable to a automobile on the observe. The railcars, which leverage a camera-based notion system and redundant braking can cease safely and autonomously as much as 10 occasions faster than a practice. This implies the autos can carry out an emergency cease throughout the line of sight that the sensors understand an object. As well as, the platoons mechanically preserve secure speeds based mostly on the observe situations.

Parallel platoons will cut back ready occasions at railroad crossings. The platoons are shorter than conventional trains, and the autos will separate if blocking visitors, permitting emergency autos and the general public to soundly proceed with out delays.

The US railroad system has greater than 140,000 miles of observe; nevertheless, Parallel estimates that lower than 3% of that community is occupied by lively trains at any given second. To make freight deliveries economical, at the moment’s railroads usually deal with transferring delivery containers distances greater than 500 miles. Parallel has recognized a possibility to carry extra enterprise to rail by enhancing the unit economics over shorter distances. Introducing a extra versatile system will alleviate strain on freeway infrastructure and the trucking trade because it faces overwhelming demand and a driver scarcity of 80,000 US drivers.

Parallel’s distinctive system eliminates the constraints of conventional practice structure to compete extra instantly with the pliability advantages of trucking. Immediately, vans are chargeable for transferring many of the nation’s freight by miles. Transferring a portion of that freight quantity to autonomous battery-electric rail will assist alleviate freeway congestion, enhance street security, cut back street put on and tear, present shippers with cheaper transportation, and supply environmental well being and security advantages by decreasing GHG trucking emissions, the corporate says.

Parallel’s proprietary structure permits for smaller, cleaner, and cheaper terminals that may be constructed nearer to shippers and clients, successfully opening up new markets and decreasing last-mile supply prices. Immediately, conventional rail terminals need to be giant sufficient to service lengthy trains, and are every constructed on a whole bunch of acres of land. These giant terminals are costly, distant, and end in slower supply occasions. Along with decreasing the price of conventional terminals, Parallel permits:

  • Micro terminals: Low capital expenditure, zero-emissions terminals constructed nearer to shippers and clients that require lower than 5% of the land in comparison with a standard terminal.

  • Direct to seaport: Allows loading and unloading containers instantly from port crane onto rail; addresses provide chain points by decreasing congestion in seaports by eliminating the necessity for storage throughout the port complicated; reduces yard truck utilization; creates shuttle system to inland ports and terminals.

  • Direct to warehouse: Connects rail to adjoining factories and warehouses, brings containers on to the ability, eliminating transportation mode adjustments and quick distance truck supply prices; will increase weight capability as rail can maintain extra tonnage than vans.

Parallel is growing software program that permits its autos and platoons to soundly combine with present rail operations so all freight trains and transit interoperate. The fully-automated related system leverages machine studying to optimize automobile routing, visitors scheduling and power consumption.

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