Siemens Autonomous Tram to be Unveiled

Engineering giant Siemens will showcase its autonomous road-going tram in the German city of Potsdam.

At InnoTrans2018 next week, Siemens Mobility and transport operator ViP Verkehrsbetrieb Potsdam GmbH (ViP) will carry out a test demonstration of a self-driving tram they have been developing together. Siemens Mobility claims it is the first ever tram that can do this, albeit it follows on from self-driving trains already in operation within the metropolitan public transport systems of several cities, including London, Paris, Lille, Rennes, Toulouse, Sao Paulo, Vancouver and Toronto.

The vehicle will travel across a six-kilometer section of the city’s tram network and have to maneuver its way through real-world traffic. The companies claim the vehicle’s use of “multiple LiDAR, radar and camera sensors” will allow it to do this and to respond “to hazards such as crossing pedestrians and other vehicles”. However, there is no indication whether the vehicle will be able to ‘snow-plow’ illegally parked vehicles from its tracks as existing trams systems are enabled.

Siemens Mobility CEO Sabrina Soussan says: “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”. She also claims the development of smart-city infrastructure will “enhance safety in a local and long-distance level”.

A statement from the company says the focus of its research with ViP is to identify “the technological challenges of autonomous driving under real-life conditions” and the development and testing of “solutions” to those challenges.


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