In the case of autonomous cars, there are so far many big announcements, but only relatively few realizations. On the other hand, the situation is different for subways: more and more cities rely on autonomous technology and do without a human driver. This is the case, for example, at the Paris Metro as well as at the Dubai subway. In Germany, Nuremberg is a pioneer. In the Franconian metropolis, at least the lines U2 and U3 come out without a driver. The trains used for this were developed and produced by Siemens. The city of Vienna is now also keen to benefit from these experiences: it ordered 34 self-service underground trains from the German company. Optionally, the order can also be extended to 45 units.
The tracks can also be controlled by a human driver
The newly ordered cars will be used on the planned U5 line. This is to be operated completely driverless. However, completion is scheduled for the year 2023 at the earliest. The trains are therefore equipped so that they can also be controlled by a human driver. They can, therefore, be used without problems on all other lines. This is important because the first railways from the large order will be delivered in the year 2020. Siemens was able to win against the Canadian company Bombardier in the invitation to tender of the Viennese transport companies. The state-of-the-art trains in the Siemens factory are produced directly in Vienna.
The total order volume is around 500 million euros
The self-propelled technology was not the only written specification. Rather, the new railways must also be accessible, air-conditioned and barrier-free. However, Siemens is very happy to meet these requirements. The total volume of the order is EUR 500 million – which is not a small sum for a large corporation. Around seventy percent of the order volume is estimated for the purchase of the trains. The rest is needed for the subsequent maintenance – for which the Siemens Group was also awarded the contract. For the transport sector, self-service railways have a number of advantages: the operating costs are lower and the demand can be reacted promptly to increased demand.