CENTRAL Japan Railway (JR Central) is planning to introduce operation at Grade of Automation 2 (GoA2) on the Tokaido Shinkansen as part of reforms to improve efficiency. Running between Tokyo and Shin-Ōsaka, the Tokaido Shinkansen opened in 1964 and is the oldest high-speed line in the world.

Under automatic train operation (ATO) at GoA2, the driver will push a button to launch the system at the start of the service, with the system then operating the train automatically, including stopping at intermediate stations.

The system will also calculate the optimum speed curve in real time, adjusting train speed in reaction to external events, such as changing weather conditions, in order to ensure that the train arrives at each station on time.

The system is due to be presented to the public with a test run between Hamamatsu and Shizuoka stations on May 10.

The system has been developed as part of JR Central’s Yen 80bn ($US 596.2m) 15-year investment programme to improve operational efficiency.