Autonomous driving on the rails

Legal framework for the automation of rail traffic



One of the greatest challenges for the railroad is the switch to fully automated driving. In many areas of application, this changeover will be necessary in order to establish rail transport as an attractive alternative to automated road transport over the long term. A rail system that has been consistently optimized around the core of fully automated driving makes it possible to simplify and optimize processes and technologies. The fully automatic operation enables smaller units (“rail buses”) to be driven according to requirements, which can be combined into “virtual trains” as required. With current technology, implementation is possible, as people movers and metros show in daily operation. This path should also be followed consistently for reasons of climate policy.

A transfer of these technologies to the normal railway requires an adaptation of the current operating procedures. Procedures and requirements for normal operation, the monitoring of operations (control and safety technology) and the reaction to malfunctions must be described. The legal challenge here is that the operating guidelines and licensing law are based on the presence of a train driver.



Autonomous driving on the rails

Principal: Dr. Hermann u. Ellen Klaproth-Stiftung

Duration: 10/2017–10/2017