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August-October 2018

Dutch railway operator to experiment with self-driving trains

Dutch railway operator ProRail will test self-driving trains on a small set of railroad tracks in the Netherlands to learn if they can be part of the country’s notoriously busy network. The Dutch railway system is one of the most crowded in the world and, while there are surprisingly few delays in the schedule, it could benefit enormously from autonomous trains. “There are so many trains on the grid that the distance between them is relatively short,” said Rick van der Mand, project manager of ProRail’s autonomous driving experiment. “It's so busy that congestion is never far away. Automation may prevent that.” Testing will start later in 2018 on a stretch of railway in the north of the Netherlands, as well as on the infamous Betuweroute that runs from Rotterdam to Germany. Though the Netherlands privatised the national railway system in 2005, ProRail is solely appointed to maintain the country’s railway infrastructure. Meanwhile, several different train operators drive on the 7,021km of tracks. That leads to a medley of ...

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