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France to run driverless mainline trains within 5 years

AFPPARIS (AFP-Jiji) — French railway operator SNCF said Wednesday it was planning to introduce prototypes of driverless mainline trains for passengers and freight by 2023, and include them in scheduled services in subsequent years.

“With autonomous trains, all the trains will run in a harmonized way and at the same speed,” SNCF chairman Guillaume Pepy said in a statement. “The train system will become more fluid.”

The operator hopes that the switch will allow it to run more trains on France’s busiest mainlines, and cut energy consumption.

Many cities, including Paris, already run driverless metro trains but driverless long-distance travel presents a new set of challenges, Pepy said.

“Railways are an open system, and the unexpected is the rule,” Pepy said.Speech

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