Siemens Mobility and ViP Verkehrsbetrieb Potsdam GmbH have successfully presented their Autonomous Tram project at a press conference recently.
The fully automated tram depot carried out the successful demonstration of the AStriD (which stands for Autonomous Tram in Depot) system using a self-driving tram.
InnoTrans 2018 which is the worlds largest trade fair for transport technology saw Siemens Mobility and Verkehrsbetrieb Potsdam demonstrate a test tram which ran in real road conditions on a part of tram network in the city of Potsdam in Germany. This exciting and ambitious experimental tram resulted in a joint research project being undertaken at the automated tram depot in October 2019 with an association formed of Siemens Mobility, ViP Verkehrsbetrieb Potsdam GmbH, the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (KIT), the Institute for Climate Protection, Energy and Mobility (IKEM), and Codewerk GmbH.
The innovative project which is expected to hit the market in 2026 is supported by the mFUND from the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) Siemens Mobility and also with ViP Verkehrsbetried Potsdam GmbH, and aims to develop a digital depot based on the automated trams. The technical aspects of the concept will be tested by using the autonomous service functionalities, such as moving the tram through a tram wash unit and on to a siding.
Creating a depot automation that is financially workable is the first step in bringing self driving trams to fruition. At the very beginning of the project considerations were given to the many legal and economic conditions which would need to be met before approval and operation of the trams could be realised.
The partnership has split the project into different areas of work with Siemens Mobility taking on the development of the self driving tram within the depot and also a yard management system which will enable the tram to receive direction. Siemens Mobility are also working with fellow partner KIT to create a digital map which will form the platform for tracking the trams whereabouts within the depot.
The tram and the depot infrastructure are provided by ViP Verkehrsbetrieb Potsdam GmbH and also giving access to all data needed, system and facilities, they will also evaluate the projects results from the viewpoint of a perspective depot operator.
The KIT Institute for Information Processing Technology (ITIV) are dealing with specification and digitalisation of the automated processes and also identifying data that will be needed to support the creation of the digital map.
IKEM are examining and appraising both the legal and economic circumstances relating to the project.
Codewerk who specialise in industrial systems and also design software for data communication on rail vehicles, will support the communication from the tram and the control centre along with taking on responsibility for integrating parts of the depot infrastructure.
Albrecht Neumann, CEO Rolling Stock of Siemens Mobility, said: “AStriD is an important milestone on the way to achieving self-driving trams. Working with our partners, we are using valuable synergies to digitalize the depot and reduce time-consuming on-site shunting. By automating the depot, we can better support our customers in ensuring sustainable value growth over the entire lifecycle and guaranteeing the availability of their trams,” said The research and development project is being implemented at the depot operated by Verkehrsbetriebs Potsdam.
Uwe Loeschmann, CEO of ViP Verkehrsbetrieb Potsdam GmbH, said: “Autonomous driving along the tram route and within the depot relieves our drivers and increases the safety of our passengers and other road users,”
“Autonomous tram operation in our depot with the AStriD system opens up the possibility of automated cleaning, supply and parking processes with central control and increased operational safety.”
Potsdam Mayor Mike Schubert, said: “This is an important, future-oriented project. The participation of the state capital and its transport company shows how the spirit of innovation is thriving in Potsdam. If this new technology can be used in the coming years, it could help transport companies modernize local public transport. That’s why we’re pleased to be working as a project partner of Siemens on what we believe is a pioneering development.”
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