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Aug 28, 2019

Driverless Lastochka makes demonstration run at PRO//Movement. EXPO

Maxim Akimov, the Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, and Oleg Belozerov, the Chief Executive Director and Chairman of the Board of Russian Railways, made a test trip on the first unmanned Russian electric train Lastochka at the framework International Railway Salon PRO//Movement. EXPO. The test run took place at the experimental railway ring in Shcherbinka in Greater Moscow.

"What we saw today is the result of a major technological breakthrough. This can be called a technological breakthrough without any doubt because it was achieved by our engineers at our technical centres, at Russian Railways, together with a large number of different partners, which supplied the solution, while Russian Railways acted as the assembly centre. This is really a technological step forward into the future", said Maxim Akimov, commenting on his impressions of the trip.

"Today is a historic day for Russia’s railways. We have come close to unmanned technology. I would like to say thank you to all the developers. We have only used Russian systems. Moreover, I can say that we are one year ahead of our foreign colleagues. Russian Railways seeks to introduce unmanned driving technology, primarily because it will provide an increased level of safety and reliability of transportation, especially for passengers," said Oleg Belozerov.

The Russian Railways Holding is developing unmanned train systems at various infrastructure facilities and is therefore gradually fitting the rolling stock, station infrastructure and technological facilities with special equipment for remote monitoring and traffic control. In the coming year, a series of tests is to be carried out to test the moving technology in automatic mode under the control of drivers, although test trips with passengers are not planned at this stage.

The Company head also noted that drivers should not worry about the fact that their work will not be in demand. "Their functionality will change somewhat, but monitoring the systems will still remain with the person. We will transform everything all together."

To operate in automatic mode, special equipment has been installed on the Lastochka for positioning the train on the infrastructure, communication with the control centre and detecting obstacles. The train is able to run in accordance with the timetable in unmanned mode, and automatically slows down when it detects an obstacle in the way.

The ES2G Lastochka unmanned electric train can be controlled automatically, both from the cab by the driver, and from the transportation control centre by the operator. The control centre is designed to control the operation of unmanned trains and make decisions in the event of emergency situations. The operator-driver can, for example, transfer the train from automatic control to remote mode and directly control the movement if necessary.

In the future, unmanned technologies, if appropriate legislative initiatives are adopted, can be introduced on railway lines with a large volume of traffic and a low transit interval between passenger trains, for example, on the Moscow Central Ring, as well as at freight stations for shunting locomotives.

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