Moscow driverless tram enters trials

Moscow driverless tramMoscow driverless tram has started trials on city’s network with driver still present to ensure full performance in traffic in the initial phase, while at the depot it operates completely autonomously.

The city has begun testing this first innovative transport, and during the test phase, it will run on the 10th tram route without passengers.

The driverless tramway is equipped with the most advanced LiDAR systems, providing highly accurate location data and a 360-degree view, and the new technology allows the tram to anticipate obstacles and stops in time if someone steps onto the tracks. The software is developed by metro specialists without involving external companies. This unmanned technology is a unique European development owned by the Moscow Government.

The first phase of Moscow driverless tram has been initiated by the city’s mayor Sergey Sobyanin. “Initially, the new transport will operate on the streets of the city without passengers. In the next phase, by the end of 2024, the tram will begin fully controlling the driving process in test mode, with the driver serving as a backup. In the third and final phase,” the Deputy Mayor for Transport Maksim Liksutov said.

By the end of 2025, the city plans to launch the fully driverless tram without a driver to provide innovative transport services.

On May 23, Moscow opened the Centre for Electric Transport and Driverless Technologies. The city has brought together all developers of cutting-edge transport solutions under one roof, providing them with comfortable working conditions to foster innovation.

The new centre, located in the Kuntsevo district, spans 8,800 square meters. The facility provides over 400 jobs and houses innovative structural subdivisions of Moscow Transport, namely the country’s first ticketing systems laboratory alongside offices dedicated to the development of electric and driverless transport.

The facility also includes teams specialising in system integration, technical support, and digital service development. Many of the centre’s employees are current students and graduates from the city’s leading universities.

“The Center will create the necessary conditions for launching the most advanced projects of the Moscow Government. It is envisioned to be the birthplace of numerous innovative solutions that will shape the face of Moscow Transport for decades to come,” Maksim Liksutov said.

With the opening of the centre, Moscow already launched the driverless tram, a virtual Troika card which allows fare payments via any smartphone, the remote Troika card top-up which allows passengers activate their cards at metro and MCC turnstiles without needing to tap on yellow terminals, as it was before. Another milestone to digitalise Moscow’s public transport payment system is the biometric fare payment system on the Moscow Central Diameters (MCD). The first phase of biometric fare payment is now available to all users.


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