Siemens Mobility and ViP Verkehrsbetrieb Potsdam successfully demonstrated a test of the Autonomous Tram in Depot (AStriD- from the German for “Autonomous Tramway in Depot”) research project, and it is expected that the technology will be market-ready in 2026.
“Autonomous driving along the tram route and within the depot relieves our drivers and increases the safety of our passengers and other road users,” Uwe Loeschmann, CEO of ViP Verkehrsbetrieb Potsdam GmbH, said.
A consortium consisting 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 began its joint research on a fully automated tram depot in October 2019.
“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,” Albrecht Neumann, CEO Rolling Stock of Siemens Mobility said.
The research and development project is being implemented at the depot operated by Verkehrsbetriebs Potsdam.
At the InnoTrans 2018, Siemens Mobility and Verkehrsbetrieb Potsdam demonstrated a test tram operating under real road conditions on a section of Potsdam’s tram network. In October 2019 the research project has been launched in Potsdam.
The project that resulted from this initiative aims at developing a digital depot on the basis of self-driving trams.
The technical feasibility of the concept will be demonstrated with autonomous service functions, such as moving a tram through a washing facility to a siding. Making depot automation commercially viable is thus a first stage of introducing autonomous driving.
Under the Autonomous Tram in Depot project, the consortium partners are responsible for different works.
Siemens Mobility is developing the self-driving tram in the depot and the yard management system (YMS) that gives the tram its driving orders. In addition, it is working with project partner KIT to develop the digital map that is the basis for tracking the tram’s location within the depot.
ViP Verkehrsbetrieb Potsdam GmbH is providing the tram and the depot infrastructure, enabling access to all required data, systems, and facilities, and evaluating the project’s findings from the perspective of a depot operator.
The KIT Institute for Information Processing Technology (ITIV) is contributing its expertise in the specification and digitalisation of depots, the automation of processes, and identifying the necessary data, and is supporting the development of the digital map.
IKEM is analysing and evaluating the legal and economic issues related to the project while Codewerk is supporting the communication between the tram and control center and is responsible for integrating parts of the depot infrastructure.
The three-year project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure as part of its Modernity Fund (mFUND).