Siemens to unveil world’s first autonomous tram at InnoTrans 2018

Siemens to unveil world’s first autonomous tram at InnoTrans 2018
© Siemens AG, Munich/Berlin (www.siemens.com/press)

Siemens Mobility has announced plans to unveil its research project into the world’s first autonomous tram at InnoTrans 2018.

InnoTrans 2018 is an international trade fair for transport technology, vehicles and systems, and will take place in Berlin, Germany from 18-21 September. Siemens Mobility will use the event to present a joint research and development project with ViP Verkehrsbetrieb Potsdam GmbH, through which the two parties have developed the world’s first autonomous tram.

The fully autonomous tram will be demonstrated in operation on a 6km section of tram network in the city of Potsdam, Germany, throughout the event. The customised Siemens Combino tram will be shown driving autonomously in real traffic, although the project will not carry passengers during this demonstration phase.

How did the project develop a tram that operates autonomously?

The experimental tram is fully equipped with cameras, lidar and radar sensors which capture the vehicle’s environment in detail, which data is then interpreted and assessed by complex algorithms. This allows the vehicle to evaluate a situation, and following a prognosis for the further development of the situation provided by the algorithms, respond appropriately.

This artificial intelligence capability allows the tram to respond to signals and tram stops, and to react quickly and autonomously to developing hazards such as pedestrians and other vehicles. According to Siemens Mobility, this makes the vehicle the world’s first autonomous tram.

What has Siemens said in advance of the launch of the tram?

For Siemens Mobility CEO Sabrina Soussan, the development of the technology which powers the autonomous tram represents a leap forward for autonomous vehicles of all types, and is an important step towards smarter cities and transportation.

She said: “This world premiere demonstrates how we are actively shaping the mobility of the future. Our autonomous tram can already master essential operating tasks in real road traffic at this stage of development… 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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