SNCF has revealed ambitious plans for France to become the first country in the world to roll out driverless high speed trains, according to France TV info. “We will become the first in the world to put into service an autonomous train on a high-speed commercial rail line,” SNCF CEO Guillaume Pepy told Le Figaro newspaper.
SNCF announced that the automated trains would begin trials in 2019. By using this technology, the company says that it can increase speed and efficiency. Providing the company meets its targets, it believes it’ll be the first company in the world to run automated high-speed trains. The high speed driverless trains could run starting 2023 and the system will more likely be as the automatic pilot systems used on airplanes, thus, a train driver will be present onboard to supervise the journey and handle any unexpected events.
Up until now driverless trains have become common on Metro systems around the world, but in cities trains only travel at around 50km/h and are mainly in tunnels.
SNCF says driverless trains are not about saving money on personnel but on making the service more effective and getting more TGV’s onto the tracks. By 2019, SNCF hopes to be able to test a prototype but only on trains carrying freight.