POLAND: Kraków city transport operator MPK has demonstrated what it said was the first automated operation of a tram in Poland, with no driver in the cab and an onboard computer controlling the speed and when and where the vehicle started, stopped and opened and closed its doors.

Krakow automated tram cab

The Newag 126N tram carried guests including Mayor Jacek Majchrowski from Muzeum Narodowe to the Cichy Kącik terminus and back on the night of January 27-28.

The automation research project is being undertaken by a partnership of MPK, vehicle manufacturer Newag, Kraków University of Technology, software company Cybid and electronics supplier Medcom.

Satellite location information and distance measurement is used ensure the tram stops in the correct places and obeys speed limits.

The project aims is to develop a system which would assist and supervise drivers, ensuring that trams operate within the required safety parameters, detecting obstructions on the line, intervening in the event of overspeeding and optimising running to ensure a smooth flow of traffic through road junctions.

In the longer term, the fully automated operation of trams in a mixed traffic urban environment is envisaged.