On Monday, Deutsche Bahn and Siemens unveiled the world’s first automated, driverless train in Hamburg, billing it as more punctual and energy-efficient than traditional trains.
This train made its debut under the Digital S-Bahn Hamburg project, part of DB’s Digital Rail Germany project.
It made its premiere run at the Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress (ITS) launch in Hamburg. Start carrying passengers from December, using the existing rail infrastructure.
Other cities like Paris have driverless metros while airports often have automated monorail trains plying terminals. Still, those run on exclusive single tracks while the Hamburg train will be sharing tracks with other regular trains.
The project, which Siemens and Deutsche Bahn called a “world-first”, is part of a €60 million ($70 million) modernisation of Hamburg’s rapid urban rail system.
Deutsche Bahn CEO Richard Lutz said automated trains offer “a more reliable” service “without having to lay a single kilometre of new track”.
“We are making rail transport more intelligent,” said Siemens CEO Roland Busch, estimating that automated trains can transport “up to 30 percent more passengers, significantly improve punctuality and save more than 30 percent energy”.
Although the train is controlled through digital technology and fully automated, a driver will still be present to supervise journeys whenever passengers are on board, the companies said in a statement.