A trial with automatic train operation (ATO), conducted in February 2020 between Groningen and Buitenpost by ProRail, the Province of Groningen and Arriva using a Stadler GTW diesel train is to be expanded following the addition of Netherlands Railways (NS) to the team.  

The original trial conducted with passengers had a driver on board who manually activated the ATO system. For the new trials, the driver will activate the ATO remotely and the train will use a 5G communication system.  

The new test runs will take place this summer mainly at night between Groningen station, De Vork shunting yard in Groningen and the NedTrain shunting yard near Onnen. The cost of the new trials is estimated at €2.5m.  

The first tests showed an improvement in punctuality, although the ride was a little jerky, and a 30% reduction in fuel consumption.