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Assisted, automated and autonomous driving

Rail vehicles have been able to drive automatically for a long time now. There are more than 50 driverless metro systems worldwide. As closed system without interfaces with other transport systems, the metro is suited for this type of operation. The picture is different when it comes to rail traffic, where a heterogeneous landscape of different traffic management and train protection systems is to be found, which makes the locomotive driver essential. Moreover, there are many interfaces with the road traffic system because of the numerous level crossings, many of them without barriers in rural areas. The tram, which moves through the city like the road vehicles, has an even closer connection. For both systems, it is possible to reduce the driver’s workload through appropriate assistance systems. However, the trend moves towards autonomous vehicles, that is, vehicles moving automatically on their transport areas without being controlled by central traffic management and train protection systems. At the IFS we conduct investigations especially on driver assistance systems and the automation of rail vehicles.