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Parallel Systems

Parallel Systems

Parallel Systems reveals it is decarbonizing freight by building a cleaner, automated rail future

Origin Story

A team of former SpaceX engineering leaders recognized an opportunity to decarbonize the freight industry, by increasing the utilization of today’s rail network. Parallel was founded by Matt Soule, Brian Ignaut, John Howard and Ben Stabler to reimagine the historic rail industry with innovative software and hardware.

“We founded Parallel to allow railroads to open new markets, increase infrastructure utilization, and improve service to accelerate freight decarbonization. Our business model is to give railroads the tools to convert some of the $700 billion U.S. trucking industry to rail. Parallel’s competitive edge is our autonomous battery-electric rail vehicles, which are designed to move freight cleaner, faster, safer and more cost effectively than traditional trains or trucks.”

Matt Soule, Co-founder and CEO, Parallel Systems

Product

Parallel is developing a new patent-pending vehicle architecture to increase utilization of today's rail network. The autonomous battery-electric rail vehicles transport standard shipping containers as a single or double stacked load. The vehicles can self-assemble en route as platoons on the nation’s existing rail infrastructure. More flexible than traditional trains, the rail vehicles enable more responsive service and a wider range of routes.

Zero emissions

Parallel’s battery-electric rail vehicles use just 25% of the energy compared to a semi-truck, and offer the lowest operational cost of any surface freight transportation mode. Parallel achieves superior energy efficiency because it is lighter and more aerodynamic than freight trains. Less energy means smaller batteries, less strain on the grid, and lower charging infrastructure costs. Parallel aims to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions by converting trucking freight to electric rail.

Autonomy on rail

New levels of railway safety are possible due to the vehicle’s ability to rapidly detect hazards and stop a platoon up to 10x quicker than a train. Our autonomous system allows customers to increase the utilization and resiliency of today’s rail infrastructure, improving the quality of service. The railroad’s closed network is ideal for the safe and early commercialization of autonomous technology due to it's limited track access and centralized traffic control.

Platooning

Our patent-pending platooning technology reduces aerodynamic drag and improves flexibility. The rail cars, which are individually powered, can join together to form platoons or split off to multiple destinations while en route. Our system eliminates the constraints of traditional train architecture to compete more directly with the flexibility benefits of trucking. The rail vehicles enable a near continuous flow of containers through terminals, reducing the waiting times associated with accumulating cargo and loading long trains.

How it works

Modular System Highlights
New terminal concepts

Parallel's proprietary architecture allows for smaller, cleaner, and less expensive terminals that can be built closer to shippers and customers. Terminal concepts unlocked by Parallel include direct-to-seaport, and direct-to-warehouse, as well as standalone micro-terminals. The more accessible terminals allow railroads to open new markets and reduce last-mile delivery costs.

Open railroad crossings

Parallel platoons will reduce waiting times at railroad crossings. The platoons are shorter than traditional trains, and the vehicles will separate if they are blocking traffic, allowing emergency vehicles and the public to safely proceed without delays.

Direct routing

Parallel platoons can split in motion and route directly to multiple destinations. Our platoons will bypass congested switching yards and eliminate the need to manually sort and reassemble freight onto secondary trains—saving hours, or even days, of transit time.

Flexible scale

Our flexible system is designed to increase the utilization of today’s existing rail infrastructure. Unlike traditional freight trains, our platoons do not need to accumulate large quantities of freight to make service economical. This results in greater asset utilization, faster delivery times, and higher quality of service.

Fleet Management

Parallel is developing software that allows its vehicles and platoons to safely integrate with existing rail operations so all freight trains and transit interoperate. The fully-automated connected system leverages machine learning to optimize vehicle routing, traffic scheduling and energy consumption. The result will provide customers with hassle-free, best-in-class service and freight tracking.

Timeline

January 19, 2022
Parallel Systems raises a $50,000,000 series A round from Anthos Capital, Congruent Ventures, Embark Ventures and Riot Ventures.

Funding rounds

Patents

Further Resources

Title
Author
Link
Type
Date

How It Works

Parallel Systems

Web

January 11, 2022

References

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