GERMANY: A Combino tram equipped for experimental autonomous operation is to be demonstrated by Siemens Mobility and Potsdam transport operator ViP during InnoTrans 2018.

The Combino tram will undertake autonomously-driven demonstration runs in real traffic on 6 km of the network in Potsdam, southwest of Berlin, from September 18 to 21.

The vehicle has been equipped with multiple lidar, radar and camera sensors, and uses artificial intelligence capabilities to respond to lineside signals, stop at boarding points and react autonomously to hazards such as pedestrians and other vehicles.

‘Our autonomous tram can already master essential operating tasks in real road traffic at this stage of development’, said Siemens Mobility CEO Sabrina Soussan on September 3. ‘By relying on the Siemens Tram Assistant collision warning system being used in, among other places, our Avenio M tram operating in Ulm, we have already reached series maturity, an important milestone on the way to autonomous driving.’

The experimental system is not designed for commercial use, but is intended to help identify the technical challenges of autonomous driving under real-life conditions, and support the development of solutions for them. Siemens and ViP and are discussing further co-operation to develop the technology.

‘By making trains and infrastructure intelligent, we can guarantee availability and enhance safety in local and long-distance travel’, said Soussan.