SNCF and its partners run the first semi-autonomous train

Par ediallo - 16 December, 2020 - 15:11

For the first time in France, a locomotive ran in partial autonomy, under real operating conditions, with 100% automated acceleration and braking functions. This test, carried out on 29 October, marks a key stage in the Autonomous Train project.

A major milestone for the Autonomous Train project

Two years after the launch in 2018 of a consortium dedicated to the development of a prototype autonomous train, a Prima BB 27000 locomotive operated in partial autonomy on the national rail network between Longwy and Longuyon, in eastern France, on a line equipped with the European signalling system ERTMS, under the supervision of a driver.

The consortium made up of Alstom, Altran (a Capgemini Group company), Apsys, Hitachi Rail, Railenium and SNCF carried out all the stages that made this major trial possible, from design to the description of the computer systems, including cabling and software programming.

Thanks to this work, to which nearly a hundred people from all the partner companies contributed, the schedule announced for 2018 is being met and the 2020 ambition has been achieved.

The next stages of the project

The next key stage of the project will be the circulation, at the end of 2021, of a train with the same level of partial autonomy on a line equipped with lateral signalling without any modification to the infrastructure.

This step will enable the SNCF and its partners to master all the possibilities of running in partial autonomy, regardless of the signalling system.

(Lateral signalling is the signalling in force before the deployment of the European ERTMS signalling system and still used on the vast majority of lines (excluding high-speed).

At the same time, engineering work is continuing to develop the various functions required for full autonomy, such as obstacle detection and environmental monitoring. Twelve test sessions are scheduled and should make it possible to gradually add the functions needed to increase the level of autonomy.

For the first time in France, a locomotive ran in partial autonomy, under real operating conditions, with 100% automated acceleration and braking functions. This test, carried out on 29 October, marks a key stage in the Autonomous Train project.

A major milestone for the Autonomous Train project

Two years after the launch in 2018 of a consortium dedicated to the development of a prototype autonomous train, a Prima BB 27000 locomotive operated in partial autonomy on the national rail network between Longwy and Longuyon, in eastern France, on a line equipped with the European signalling system ERTMS, under the supervision of a driver.

The consortium made up of Alstom, Altran (a Capgemini Group company), Apsys, Hitachi Rail, Railenium and SNCF carried out all the stages that made this major trial possible, from design to the description of the computer systems, including cabling and software programming.

Thanks to this work, to which nearly a hundred people from all the partner companies contributed, the schedule announced for 2018 is being met and the 2020 ambition has been achieved.

The next stages of the project

The next key stage of the project will be the circulation, at the end of 2021, of a train with the same level of partial autonomy on a line equipped with lateral signalling without any modification to the infrastructure.

This step will enable the SNCF and its partners to master all the possibilities of running in partial autonomy, regardless of the signalling system.

(Lateral signalling is the signalling in force before the deployment of the European ERTMS signalling system and still used on the vast majority of lines (excluding high-speed).

At the same time, engineering work is continuing to develop the various functions required for full autonomy, such as obstacle detection and environmental monitoring. Twelve test sessions are scheduled and should make it possible to gradually add the functions needed to increase the level of autonomy.

Olivier Kauf