DB and Siemens unveil world’s first automatic train

DB and Siemens automatic train

German railway company Deutsche Bahn (DB) – in partnership with Siemens Mobility – has developed the world’s first fully automated driverless train.

The train was unveiled this week at the launch of the Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress (ITS) in Hamburg.

The debut falls under the Digital S-Bahn Hamburg project, part of DB’s Digital Rail Germany project.

The Digital S-Bahn Hamburg project has received a total investment of £50.7m from project partners DB, Siemens Mobility, and the City of Hamburg.

Controlled by digital technology, the S-Bahn train has the ability to carry out operations, such as shunting, in the absence of on-board personnel.

However, a driver will be present to manage the journey with commuters on board.

During the congress, four digital S-Bahn trains will run automatically on the 23km segment of the S-Bahn Line 21 between the Bergedorf/Aumühle and Berliner Tor stations.

The four digital S-Bahn trains will commence official scheduled passenger service in  Hamburg from December this year.

Plans are in motion to digitalise Hamburg’s S-Bahn entire system by the end of the decade, along with related investments in trains and infrastructure.

According to Siemens, this technology is expected to be deployed nationwide for regional and mainline rail systems.

Dr Roland Busch, Siemens CEO, said: “We are making rail transport more intelligent; the trains drive the perfect timetable automatically, accurate to the second and energy-optimised.

“This way, we are supporting our partner Deutsche Bahn in its goal of making train travel more attractive and protecting the climate.

“With our technology, our customers can transport up to 30% more passengers, significantly improve punctuality and save more than 30% energy.

“The new technology has already been officially approved and, since it features open interfaces, can immediately be used by operators worldwide for all types of trains.”

Last month, BeNEX subsidiary agilis Eisenbahngesellschaft placed an order with Siemens Mobility to produce 23 four-car Mireo trainsets.

Image courtesy: Siemens/Deutsche Bahn

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