Driverless Trains in Russia to Undergo Trials at Virtual Test Site


The Russian Ministry of Transport intends in cooperation with Russian Railways to perform trials of driverless trains at a virtual test ground to be developed by mid-December 2020, Izvestiya newspaper reports on Sunday.

A simulator will make possible to test operability of automated trains software, using railway conditions simulation and potential contingencies, TASS writes.

The terms of reference for a tender to design the test site was presented and approved in early July at a meeting of the working group of the Digital Economy autonomous nonprofit organization, the newspaper says. The exact project cost has not been determined yet.

The main task of the virtual simulator is to check reliability and accuracy of computer vision to be provided for driverless transport, department director of the Ministry of Transport Dmitry Bakanov said. “Snow, rain, fog, twilight, sudden obstacles and dangerous collision approaches with other traffic participants – all of them should be tested in virtual conditions before releasing driverless transport equipped with computer vision systems into the real world,” Bakanov said, cited by the newspaper.

Russian Railways is currently developing a hardware and software package for driverless trains. “Development of several key technologies at once is required for automatic operation of trains. Driverless trains shall have remote control systems with artificial intelligence, machine vision, secured communication channels and high-precision positioning,” the railway operator’s press service told the newspaper.

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