Siemens to present world’s first autonomous tram

At InnoTrans 2018, Siemens Mobility and development partner Verkehrsbetrieb Potsdam (ViP) will present their research into developing the world’s first autonomous tram.

On a 6km section of the Potsdam tram network, the pair will demonstrate a test tram driving autonomously in real traffic between September 18-21.

The tram, one from public transport operator ViP’s fleet of Siemens-built Combinos, is only for research and development purposes, it is not designed for commercial use.

It is equipped with multiple lidar, radar and camera sensors that serve as “digital eyes” by capturing the tram and its traffic environment.

At the same time, complex algorithms will function as a “brain” by interpreting and evaluating data from the momentary operating situation, providing a prognosis for further development of the situation, then triggering an appropriate response by the tram.

Thanks to its artificial intelligence capability, the tram responds to trackside tram signals, stops at tram stops, and reacts autonomously to hazards such as crossing pedestrians and other vehicles.

The project aims to identify the technological challenges of autonomous driving under real-life conditions, then developing and testing solutions for them. A continuation of the cooperation between the two parties is being discussed.

Siemens Mobility CEO Sabrina Soussan said: “Our autonomous tram can already master essential operating tasks in real road traffic at this stage of development.

“By relying on the “Siemens Tram Assistant” collision warning system being used in, among other places, our Avenio M tram operating in Ulm, Germany, we have already reached series maturity – an important milestone on the way to autonomous driving.

“By making trains and infrastructure intelligent, we can guarantee availability and enhance safety in local and long distance travel.”


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