Kochi will come closer to ushering in driver-less rides when its first Metro train gets on track in June with a communication-based train control (CBTC) system, the first in India. To begin with, seven trains with CBTC technology will run on the 14-km Aluva-Palarivattom corridor. A total of nine trains are equipped with the technology, provided by French company Alstom. The technology controls the movement of trains, allowing them to run at higher frequencies and speeds with greater safety, a Kochi Metro spokesperson said.
With the introduction of the CBTC system, the position of a train will be known more accurately than with the traditional signalling systems. It is also a more efficient way of managing rail traffic. “CBTC will be used for the first time on the trains of the Kochi Metro. It’s more efficient than the traditional signalling system. Trains can communicate with each other using software, minimising man-made errors,” Reshmi CR, senior spokesperson of the Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL), said.
The advantage of the CBTC technology – being tried out in the Delhi Metro — is that it will help calculate the distance and time taken to travel by trains. The spokesperson also said it was a step towards trains with driver-less engines. “We are going to start with drivers at first and in the future we will be implementing the unattended train operation system (UTO). Certain modifications will have to be done on the technical side for this,” Reshmi told PTI.
The Delhi Metro has embraced the UTO system, but it is not functional yet. It is expected to go driverless after trying the technology out with drivers for a year.