SNCF to launch driverless trains in mainland France by 2023

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SNCF to launch driverless trains in mainland France by 2023

France SNCF to launch driverless trains in mainland France by 2023

French rail operator chair says autonomous trains are the future but it may take time for passengers to accept boarding them

France is following the example of Australia, China and Japan who have already experimented with driverless trains.
France is following the example of Australia, China and Japan who have already experimented with driverless trains. Photograph: Bertrand Langlois/AFP/Getty Images

France’s national railway operator SNCF has announced plans to introduce prototypes of driverless mainline trains for passengers and freight by 2023.

“With autonomous trains, all the trains will run in a harmonized way and at the same speed,” SNCF chairman Guillaume Pepy said. “The train system will become more fluid.”

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The operator hopes the switch will allow it to run more trains on France’s busiest main lines, and cut energy consumption.

Many French cities, including Paris, already run driverless metro trains but driverless long-distance travel presents a new set of challenges, Pepy said.

“Railways are an open system, and the unexpected is the rule,” he said.

SNCF will be partnering up with rolling stock specialists Alstom and Bombardier who will be heading up consortia for freight and passenger traffic, respectively.

Pierre Izard, who runs SNCF’s rail technologies division, said the shift to driverless trains was to happen in stages, “up to the most extre me of automatisation, when there is no human presence onboard”.

Pepy said autonomous trains were “clearly the future”, but he added it may take time before passengers accept boarding them.

Although Australia, China and Japan are already experimenting with driverless trains, France is not coming too late to the game, said Carole Desnost, head of innovation at SNCF.

The French rail operator said it was talking to German operator Deutsche Bahn about promoting a European standard for driverless trains.

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Source: Google News France | Netizen 24 France

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