Deutsche Bahn (DB), in partnership with Siemens Mobility, has developed the world’s first fully automated driverless train in Germany.
This train made its debut under the Digital S-Bahn Hamburg project, which is part of DB’s Digital Rail Germany project.
It made its premiere run at the launch of the Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress (ITS) in Hamburg.
The Digital S-Bahn Hamburg project has received a total investment of $69.37m (€60m) from project partners DB, Siemens Mobility, and the City of Hamburg.
Controlled by digital technology, the S-Bahn train has the ability to carry out operations, such as shunting, in the absence of on-board personnel.
However, a driver will be present to manage the journey with commuters on board.
During the congress, four digital S-Bahn trains will run automatically on the 23km segment of the S-Bahn Line 21 between the Bergedorf/Aumühle and Berliner Tor stations.
The train’s digital operations are in line with the future European Automatic Train Operation (ATO) standard and supported by the European Train Control System (ETCS).
These automated trains receive their control signals through radio.
The four digital S-Bahn trains will commence regular scheduled passenger service in Hamburg from December this year.
Plans are in progress to digitalise Hamburg’s S-Bahn entire system by the end of the decade, along with related investments in trains and infrastructure.
According to Siemens, this technology is expected to be deployed nationwide for regional and mainline rail systems.
Siemens CEO Dr Roland Busch said: “We are making rail transport more intelligent. Trains drive the perfect timetable automatically, accurate to the second and energy-optimised. This way, we are supporting our partner Deutsche Bahn in its goal of making train travel more attractive and protecting the climate.
“With our technology, our customers can transport up to 30% more passengers, significantly improve punctuality and save more than 30% energy. The new technology has already been officially approved and, since it features open interfaces, can immediately be used by operators worldwide for all types of trains.”
Last month, BeNEX subsidiary agilis Eisenbahngesellschaft placed an order with Siemens Mobility to produce 23 four-car Mireo trainsets.