MOSCOW Metro has announced the start of trials with driverless LRVs on Line 10 of the city’s light rail network, a further milestone in the project.

A converted LRV is operating on the line, but not in passenger service. A driver is still present at the controls during this initial phase of the project, but the LRV operates completely autonomously in the depot.

Moscow Metro says that at present the driverless system is automatically correcting any human error on the part of the driver.

The LRV has been fitted with an advanced LiDAR system that provides highly accurate location data, while being able to detect objects in a 360° arc around the vehicle.

Potential obstacles are detected and the LRV is brought to a stand in time if a pedestrian steps on the track, for example.

Moscow Metro says that the software for driverless operation has been developed by its own staff without external assistance. “This unmanned technology is a unique European development owned by the Moscow city government,” it says.

“In the next phase, by the end of 2024, the LRV will begin fully controlling the driving process in test mode, with the driver serving as a backup,” says Mr Maksim Liksutov, Moscow’s deputy mayor for transport.

“In the third and final phase, by the end of 2025, we plan to launch a fully unmanned LRV without a driver at the controls for passenger journeys.”