German railway operator Deutsche Bahn and industrial group Siemens on Monday unveiled the world’s first driverless automated train in Hamburg, calling it more punctual and energy efficient than traditional trains.
Four such trains will join the network of S-Bahn high-speed city trains in the northern city and will start transporting passengers from December, using the existing railway infrastructure.
In other cities, such as Paris, there is a metro without a driver, and airports often run automated monorail trains, but they run on exclusive separate tracks, while the Hamburg train will share tracks with other regular trains.
The project, which Siemens and Deutsche Bahn called “the world’s first”, is part of a modernization of Hamburg’s high-speed rail system worth 60 million euros ($ 70 million).
Deutsche Bahn CEO Richard Lutz said automated trains provide “more reliable” service “without having to build a single kilometer of new tracks.”
“We are making rail transport smarter,” said Roland Bush, CEO of Siemens, adding that automated trains could carry “30 percent more passengers, significantly improve punctuality and save more than 30 percent of energy.”