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    Autonomous trains to be tested on Belgian rail

    Autonomous trains are expected to be put in circulation around 2026. Credit: © Belga

    Autonomous trains will be set on the tracks of the Belgian rail network as part of a project to improve a train’s punctuality and capacity, railway infrastructure manager Infrabel announced.

    For an estimated cost of €8 million, the trains will be tested as part of a larger pilot project into autonomous mobility approved by Infrabel’s upper management and which would be launched between 2020 and 2024.

    Automatic Train Operation (ATO) would namely allow trains to start and to brake autonomously. In countries where it’s already in use, a train driver nevertheless remains in the cockpit to oversee the process, close and open the doors and to intervene in case of an incident, according to BX1.

    “The introduction of automated driving in trains would improve capacity, punctuality and would overall reinforce the network,” Infrabel said in a statement, according to Le Soir.

    ATO is already used by several countries with driver-less metro trains, and the current test phase of the technology would aim to see it put in use on Belgian trains between 2026 and 2031.

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times