Lonely Planet Writer

Germany plans to lead the way with driverless train travel in next five years

Germany is aiming to introduce driverless train travel to their rail system within the next half decade.

German trains expected to go driverless in five years.
German trains expected to go driverless in five years. Image by shankar s. / CC BY 2.0

Rüdiger Grube, the Deutsche Bahn (DB) chairman told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said that having automatic driving on complex rail systems was much more difficult than on underground systems, but it was still possible.

German train drivers in Frankfurt, Germany.
German train drivers in Frankfurt, Germany. Image by (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

The Local reports that the initial pilot project for automated trains has already undergone tests in the Ore Mountains near the Czech Republic. The rail company say they have started preparing drivers for the fact that they won’t be needed and the unions have recognised that digitalisation is part of a changing world. Germany’s leading car manufacturers are also to the fore in self-driving technology and rail bosses say they need to do the same to remain competitive. DB say the digitalisation age will allow them to use data they collect on a better scale than at present.