Consortium Demonstrates Autonomous Tram in Depot Research Project

A consortium led by Siemens Mobility and ViP Verkehrsbetrieb Potsdam has successfully demonstrated a test of its Autonomous Tram in Depot (AStriD) research project.

Siemens Mobility and partner present research project Autonomous Tram in Depot
Siemens Mobility and partner present research project Autonomous Tram in Depot

This project is being funded in part by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) mFUND innovation initiative. This has been supporting data-based research and development projects for digital and networked mobility 4.0 since 2016.

At InnoTrans 2018, Siemens Mobility and Verkehrsbetrieb Potsdam demonstrated a test tram operating under real road conditions on a section of Potsdam’s tram network. The AStriD project resulted from this initiative and aims to develop a digital depot on the basis of self-driving trams.

The technical feasibility of the concept will be demonstrated with autonomous service functions, such as moving a tram through a washing facility to a siding.

Albrecht Neumann, Siemens Mobility’s CEO Rolling Stock, said:

“AStriD is an important milestone on the way to achieving self-driving trams. Working with our partners, we’re using valuable synergies to digitalise the depot and reduce time-consuming on-site shunting. By automating the depot, we can better support our customers in ensuring sustainable value growth over the entire lifecycle and guaranteeing the availability of their trams.”

A consortium consisting of Siemens Mobility, ViP Verkehrsbetrieb Potsdam the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (KIT), the Institute for Climate Protection, Energy and Mobility (IKEM) and Codewerk began their research in October 2019.

The project has been split between the partners. Siemens is developing the self-driving tram in the depot and the yard management system (YMS) that gives the tram its driving orders, and is working with the KIT to develop the digital map that is the basis for tracking the tram’s location within the depot.

ViP Verkehrsbetrieb Potsdam is providing the tram and the depot infrastructure, enabling access to all required data, systems, and facilities, and evaluating the project’s findings from the perspective of a depot operator.

KIT’s Institute for Information Processing Technology (ITIV) is contributing its expertise in the specification and digitalisation of depots, the automation of processes and identifying the necessary data, while the IKIM is analysing and evaluating the legal and economic issues related to the project.

Finally, Codewerk is supporting the communication between the tram and control centre and is responsible for integrating parts of the depot infrastructure.

The technology is expected to be market-ready in 2026.

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