Istanbul’s Newest Driverless Metro Train Is Headed Home from China
Jeffrey Heimgartner posted on July 31, 2020 |
A new driverless metro train in Istanbul will be used for a five-station metro line.

The future of train travel continues to reach new heights in Istanbul, Turkey. After the country placed an order for a new driverless train six months ago, CRRC Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive in China developed and finished production. The new train is part of an ongoing metro project that started in 2014 and opened in 2018.

Turkey followed the lead of numerous other countries in Europe and Asia that are moving toward more fully automated metro lines, which often mean additional capacity, the use of less power and increased running capacity.

As established by the International Association of Public Transport (UITP), the train has been graded as a GoA 4, meaning that it has fully automated features. This smart train uses technologies from Thales, which includes the latest 5G technologies, remote tracking, real-time data, intelligent lighting, and touch-screen control panels. Although a surveillance driver will be stationed on the train, GoA 4 trains autonomously start and stop, as well as open and close doors, detect obstacles, and react to emergencies.​

A new GoA 4-graded driverless metro train leaves the production line in China for Istanbul, Turkey. (Image courtesy of Xinhua.)
A new GoA 4-graded driverless metro train leaves the production line in China for Istanbul, Turkey. (Image courtesy of Xinhua.)

The new train is the first that CRRC has exported overseas. It was designed to travel 120 kmh (74.5 mph) and includes four carriages with the capacity for 1,100 passengers. Similar to other trains produced by CRRC, it has an aluminum alloy articulated car body and an energy-absorbing anti-collision design to enhance safety, as well as other innovative features.

This train will be the first of 176 of its kind to hit the Istanbul rails. The line it will operate on will enable a 35-minute journey from Gayrettepe to the airport. While most of the tunnel work is completed, the completed project isn’t set to open until 2022. The hope is to have the first line in operation by August 2021. When completed, the new lines will serve 700,000 passengers a day.

Along with providing Turkey a newly designed train set, CRRC has acquired a contract with Ukraine to manufacture eight five-car transits to be completed by 2022. The trains will travel 80 kmh (49 mph) and be approximately 96 meters (317 feet) long.

The company also unveiled its next Type B generation design at the recent World Intelligence Congress in Tianjin. Its stainless steel construction is 10 percent lighter than previous designs and features permanent magnet traction, resulting in potentially significant cost savings. It will be able to carry 2,300 passengers.

Interested in other driverless transportation gaining ground? Check out Self Driving Delivery Vehicle First to Receive US DOT Approval.

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