Alstom gears up for ATO tests in Germany
French rolling stock manufacturer Alstom plans to perform the Automatic Train Operation (ATO) tests in Germany. The research project will start in 2021. Meanwhile, the automated operations on a regional route in Lower Saxony are scheduled for early 2023.
Alstom will implement the ATO project in Germany in a partnership with the Regional Association of Greater Braunschweig, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Technical University of Berlin (TU Berlin). For the test drives, the French manufacturer will use two Coradia Continental trains owned by the Regionalbahnfahrzeuge Großraum Braunschweig (RGB), a German regional railway operator. It will be a second innovative mobility solution tested in Lower Saxony after the world’s first hydrogen train.
Grades of automation
The Coradia Continental trains will be equipped with a European Train Control System (ETCS) and an additional ATO equipment. Alstom plans to examine two different grades of automation. The third grade (GoA3) will be tested during passenger operations. It includes a fully autonomous train journey but a driver or an attendant who can intervene in the operation in case of emergency will be present in a cab. At the same time, the fourth grade (GoA4), which provides a fully unmanned service, will be used only for shunting operations.
“In the future, automated trains will optimize regional rail operations, reduce energy consumption, and increase ride comfort. In this way, highly automated driving will make a decisive contribution to climate protection and contribute to the development of a modern, attractive railway system,” said Jörg Nikutta, Managing Director of Alstom in Germany and Austria.
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