siemens electric tram

Autonomous tram testing to begin in Germany this month

Image credit: siemens

Siemens Mobility has shown off a driverless tram that it says is the first vehicle of its type to be equipped with autonomous technology.

The tram will be tested on a 6km long test track in Potsdam, Germany between 18-21 September.

The experimental vehicle is equipped with multiple lidar, radar and camera sensors that serve as ‘digital eyes’ by capturing the tram and its traffic environment.

Siemens said it uses “complex algorithms” to interpret and evaluate data from its journey moment to moment before formulating a response.

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.

Siemens Mobility says it is the first company to launch an autonomous tram for research and development purposes.

“This world premiere demonstrates how we are actively shaping the mobility of the future,” said Sabrina Soussan, CEO of Siemens Mobility.

“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.”

The tram being used in the initial trial has not been designed for commercial use. The current project aims at identifying the technological challenges of autonomous driving under real-life conditions, then developing and testing solutions for them.

In January, a fully electric tram alternative was launched in Singapore that requires just 20 seconds to recharge at stations while passengers board and alight and does not require overhanging wires and rails. 

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