A Siemens Mobility-led consortium plans to start a research project on the development of a fully autonomous tram depot, called “AStriD” (Autonomous Tram in Depot) which will be initiated in October 2019 and run for three years.
Siemens Mobility, ViP Verkehrsbetrieb Potsdam GmbH (ViP), the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), the Institute for Climate Protection, Energy and Mobility (IKEM), Codewerk GmbH, and Mapillary are the partners which will undertake the joint research project.
Siemens Mobility GmbH will develop the autonomous tram in the depot, and the tram will be integrated into the data and system landscape via the data hub provided by Codewerk and localized and tracked using a Mapillary digital map.
The KIT is contributing its expertise in the specification and digitalization of depots, the automation of processes, and the identification of necessary data, while IKEM will analyze and assess legal and economic issues in the project.
The research and development project will be carried out at the depot operated by Potsdam transport operator (ViP). The project’s technical feasibility will be demonstrated with autonomous service operations in the depot, such as running trams through a washing bay onto a siding.
Depot automation is to be made commercially viable over the medium term as the first stage of autonomous tram driving. From its onset, the development project will consider the legal framework conditions necessary for the approval and operation of autonomous trams and the economic framework needed for operations.
The project is funded by the Germany’s Ministry of transport as part of its “Modernity Fund” (mFUND) research initiative.
“AStriD is the next big milestone on the way to autonomous trams. By automating time-consuming shunting operations in the depot, we want to better support our customers in ensuring sustainable value creation over the entire lifecycle as well as guaranteeing availability,” said Sabrina Soussan, CEO of Siemens Mobility.
In September 2018, Siemens Mobility and ViP Potsdam launched the tests on for world’s first autonomous tram. The test tram driving autonomously in real traffic was demonstrated on a six-kilometer line. A Combino experimental tram was equipped will innovative solutions allowing autonomous driving operation.