All projects
Autonomous transport

Automatic Train Operations (ATO)

It is getting busier and busier on the train tracks. And that means that in the coming years more trains will have to run on the existing tracks. Automated driving (Automatic Train Operations: ATO) can be a smart and innovative solution to this.

Machinist Arriva in trein.

The ATO system accelerates on its own and brakes and stops at the correct location. In addition, ATO is expected to have a positive effect on sustainability and punctuality.

Unique: test drives with travellers

Since September 2018, the province of Groningen, ProRail, Stadler and Arriva have been conducting various tests with automatically controlled trains. After a number of phases with overnight tests without travellers, the ATO system is now ready to drive test travellers

Test results and next steps

The tests carried out show that Automatic Train Operation (ATO) allows more trains to run on the existing track. This is because these automatically controlled trains run more punctually. Travelers also only experience a small difference. You can read more about the research results here.

Follow-up research is needed to gain more insight into the benefits. The organizations want to further improve the basic functions and gain more insight into timetable driving and energy consumption.

Grade of Automation

The tests are performed at GoA level 2 (Grade of Automation). You can compare this level with a kind of “autopilot”, in which the train basically runs itself, but the driver has and keeps the responsibility over the train.