Siemens Mobility announces autonomous tram depot research project

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Siemens Mobility and partners have commenced research on a fully automated tram depot.

Initiated in October 2019, the three-year project, called AStriD (Autonomous Tram in Depot), is being funded by the Federal Ministry for Transportation and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) as part of its Modernity Fund (mFUND) research initiative.

Partners include Verkehrsbetrieb Potsdam (ViP), the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), the Institute for Climate Protection, Energy and Mobility (IKEM), Codewerk, and Mapillary.

Sabrina Soussan, CEO of Siemens Mobility, said: “AStriD is the next big milestone on the way to autonomous trams. By automating time-consuming shunting operations in the depot, we want to better support our customers in ensuring sustainable value creation over the entire lifecycle as well as guaranteeing availability.”

AStriD aims to develop a digital depot based on the operation of autonomous trams. The project’s technical feasibility will be demonstrated with autonomous service operations in the depot, such as running trams through a washing bay onto a siding.

From its onset, the development project will consider the legal framework and conditions necessary for the approval and operation of autonomous trams and the economic framework needed for operations.

The partners have divided the project into various work packages and are responsible for the following:

– Siemens Mobility will develop the autonomous tram in the depot.

– ViP will provide the tram and depot infrastructure as well as access to required data, systems and facilities, and evaluate the results from the point of view of a depot operator.

– The Institute for Information Processing Technology at KIT is contributing expertise in the specification and digitalisation of depots, the automation of processes, and the identification of necessary data.

– IKEM will analyse and assess legal and economic issues in the project.

– Codewerk will handle the cloud and edge components for integrating the data of all systems.

– Mapillary will provide the project with a cloud-based online platform for the collaborative collection and provision of street images and relevant information. The data will be analysed with artificial intelligence and processed to provide digital maps.