Plan remains for Autonomous Tram in Depot technology to be market-ready in 2026.

SIEMENS Mobility plans to offer its Autonomous Tram in Depot (AStriD) system whenever possible when new orders are placed once it has received approval.

Trials are currently taking place at the Potsdam Transport Authority (ViP) depot using a modified Siemens Combino tram. This began in 2019 and is expected to be completed next year. Siemens Mobility expects the technology to be market ready for 2026.

Speaking exclusively to IRJ, Siemens Mobility rolling stock CEO, Mr Albrecht Neumann, explained that the company chose Germany to carry out the trials due to the “conservative” safety rules in place in the country. Neumann explained that while there is work at a national level regarding the trials, each German federal state must approve the use of the new technology.

Neumann said that ViP and Siemens chose to work together, with the former already trialling automated trams on its network. “You need the right customer - someone who understands the issues surrounding the trials,” he told IRJ.

The initial pilot project has received “significant financial support” from the German government while Siemens is also supplying funding via its Research & Development division.

“We are ready to install it into existing trams,” he said. It can be retro-fitted not only to Siemens-made trams, but those from other manufacturers too he confirmed.

Neumann said that the driver shortage that was ongoing in Germany when the demonstration of the system took place in Potsdam showed why the concept was proving popular with potential customers.

He also said that the technology will certainly be offered to customers across the globe, possibly before Europe due to the different requirements in each country.