SNCF launches driverless train programme

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SNCF has set itself the target of introducing driverless passenger trains onto the French rail network by 2023.

The institutes of technological research (IRT) Railenium, Alstom, Altran, Ansaldo,
Apsys, Bombardier, Bosch, Spirops and Thales have signed an agreement with SNCF to develop two prototype driverless trains within the next two years.

SNCF said it was ’embarking on the construction of the railway system of tomorrow’.

Two separate consortia have been created. Alstom, Altran, Ansaldo STS and Apsys will work on a prototype driverless freight train while Bombardier, Bosch, Spirops and Thales have been tasked with creating an autonomous TER train.

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The total cost of the project is €57 million, with SNCF contributing 30 per cent, the state 30 per cent and project partners 40 per cent.

SNCF said the Public Railway Safety Establishment (EPSF) and the French national cyber security agency, ANSSI, would work closely with the consortia to address issues around rail safety and cybersecurity.

Driverless trains will offer passengers various benefits, said SNCF, including more regular services which are better able to adapt during periods of disruption.

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