Alstom and the RATP successfully completed an initial experiment concerning the autonomous stabling of a tram in the RATP’s T7 depot in Vitry-sur-Seine, France. The project lasted a total of six months, including three at the Vitry site. A phase of additional studies and tests is due to be launched from the second half of 2017 onwards.
The tram, by means of sensors (lidars), detects obstacles and reacts accordingly: reductions in speed, maximum service braking, or emergency braking as the case may be. It is also capable of situating itself on the site and recognizing its stabling point. The results confirm the feasibility of using these new technologies inside a depot: the tram moves autonomously, runs at the required speed in a straight line or in a curve, and stops at a pre-ordained stabling point.
"The RATP is proud to participate in this first experiment concerning the autonomous stabling of a tram,” said Elisabeth Borne, president/CEO of RATP. “This is fully in line with the group's culture of innovation, which is already quite present in the autonomous shuttle. Along the same lines, we will soon be testing the autonomous stabling / unstabling of a bus."
"Our solutions are evolving and we want our customers to benefit from all the progress we are making in new technology,” said Alstom Chairman/CEO Henri Poupart-Lafarge. “One of Alstom's objectives is to reduce operating costs for its customers, with a view to optimizing the total cost of ownership of their solutions. Automating the operation of the tram will allow a new approach to operations in the depot and I am delighted to see that the tests are already well under way.”
To carry out this experiment, Alstom partially used the technology of Easymile, a French start-up working with the RATP on the development of an autonomous vehicle. Alstom's objective is to offer increasingly complete systems solutions, from equipment integration in trains to signaling, and including solutions that facilitate operations and maintenance inside the depot. Alstom’s entry into the capital of Easymile thus makes it possible to broaden the range of applications for the operation of autonomous rail vehicles.