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Deutsche Bahn: driverless cars to encourage train travel

Could driverless cars increase train travel? (Photo: Fotolia)

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Julian Ebert
Julian Ebert
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Deutsche Bahn announces plan to provide driverless transport to and from transport hubs.

Despite Germany’s public transport network being one of the most developed in the world, for some, it is still not the most convenient way to get around. Known as the “last-mile” problem, the step between the front door and the train or bus stop continues to act as a hindrance.

Last week however, railway and logistics firm Deutsche Bahn announced a possible solution involving self-driving cars.

According to a report in Fortune magazine, the company plans to operate fleets of autonomous vehicles that could be ordered via an app, similar to Uber. They would collect people from their homes and drop them at public transit systems. Interestingly, these plans fit expert predictions that in the future “mobility on demand will be the key.”

In an interview in German newspaper WirtschaftsWoche, company boss Rüdiger Grube said that automated driving is a big project for Deutsche Bahn, although he didn’t reveal any information regarding possible time frames.

The main focus of the company, trains, are also set to make use of automated driving technology. Grube has outlined plans to develop ways for trains to be managed from a control center, rather than by a driver. “The role of the train driver and the train controller will increasingly merge in the future,” he said. This could however take one to two decades.

Read the articles from WirtschaftsWoche here and Fortune here.

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