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
Franceâs national railway operator SNCF has announced plans to introduce prototypes of driverless mainline trains for passengers and freight by 2023.
âWith autonomous trains, all the trains will run in a harmonized way and at the same speed,â SNCF chairman Guillaume Pepy said. âThe train system will become more fluid.âEmmanuel Macron takes on French unions to cut rail workersâ rights Read more
The operator hopes the switch will allow it to run more trains on Franceâs 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.
âRailways are an open system, and the unexpected is the rule,â 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 SNCFâs rail technologies division, said the shift to driverless trains was to happen in stages, âup to the most extre me of automatisation, when there is no human presence onboardâ.
Pepy said autonomous trains were âclearly the futureâ, 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.Topics
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