The inhabitants of Paris and Toulouse are used to seeing their metro trains run without a driver, but for trains, the complexity is quite different, and things move much more slowly. However, Alstom has just announced good progress. The French company explains that it has ” demonstrates the highest level of automation on a shunting locomotive near Breda, the Netherlands “.
No staff intervention was necessary
The latter is used as part of the freight trains before their departure. The French company has teamed up for the occasion with the Belgian company Lineas, and the Dutch company ProRail.
And Alstom to add: “The locomotive, operating autonomously, was confronted with various obstacles (a person, a car, a wagon and an incorrectly positioned switch) and reacted completely autonomously and without the intervention of active personnel on board”.
How did the French multinational proceed? Stéphane Féray-Beaumont, vice-president of innovation and smart mobility at Alstom, gives us the answer: “By integrating advanced obstacle detection into our autonomous driving systems, we have shown that it is possible to make trains ‘see’ ahead and deal with the unexpected safely. »
She adds : “The positive results prove that Alstom has the technology to support operators with autonomous driving technologies that will ultimately improve the operational performance of freight lines”.
Note that the company is also working on autonomous trains carrying passengers. Trials are currently underway in Germany, and more specifically on regional trains in the Lower Saxony region.
Last June, Müslüm Yakisan, president of the Germany, Austria and Switzerland region at Alstom, pointed out on this subject: “Autonomous driving is the prerequisite for sustainable and efficient rail transport in the future. With our joint pilot project, we are laying the foundations for the use of this technology in German regional transport and significantly advancing the implementation of the corresponding technical solutions.”.
Trials conducted in France
Finally, and as our colleagues from BFMthe SNCF has joined forces with Alstom, Thales, Bosch, Spirops, and the Railenium Technological Research Institute, to run an autonomous test TER in 2021. The objective is to achieve full autonomy in 2023 For now, the tests are continuing and the launch is still scheduled for the second quarter of next year.