Skip to main content Skip to navigation Skip to search

Leading the way to greener and smarter mobility, worldwide.

Our ambition is to accompany all transportation stakeholders in meeting tomorrow’s mobility challenges. We strive to provide them with the most efficient and digital mobility systems, while further improving the environmental friendliness of our solutions. 

Smart innovation for sustainable mobility

Follow us on

A comprehensive portfolio of mobility solutions

We offer a complete range of equipment and services, from high-speed trains, metros, trams and e-buses to integrated systems, customised services, infrastructure, signalling and digital mobility solutions.

Discover our solutions

Follow us on

Newsroom

Find the latest Alstom press releases and news, press kits, your regional press contacts and more!

Enter the newsroom

Follow us on

The one stop shop for all relevant information for investors and shareholders

Access our financial & share information, our financial calendar and results, regulated information, shareholders' meetings and investors' contacts & presentations.

See more

Follow us on

You know we make trains move. Discover how we move the world.

At Alstom, we value curious and innovative people who are passionate about working together to reinvent mobility, making it smarter and more sustainable. We are building an agile, inclusive, and responsible culture, where diverse people are offered opportunities to learn, grow and advance in their careers, with options across functions and geographies.

Learn more

Alstom demonstrates fully autonomous driving of a shunting locomotive in the Netherlands

Download as PDF
Press contact - Samuel Miller

Samuel Miller

Send an email
Press contacts - Benelux

Sonia Thibaut

Send an email
  • Highest possible grade of automation demonstrated for shunting locomotive operations for the first time

  • Advanced digital solutions to optimise operational performance, boost capacity and drive transition to sustainable transportation

29 November 2022 – Alstom, global leader in smart and sustainable mobility, has demonstrated the highest grade of automation on a shunting locomotive near Breda, the Netherlands, in partnership with Dutch infrastructure manager ProRail and Belgian rail freight operator Lineas. This grade of automation, known as GoA4, means fully automated starting, driving, stopping, and the handling of unanticipated obstacles or events without the direct involvement of any on-train staff during shunting activities. This demonstration concludes a series of tests that are part of an ongoing partnership between Alstom, ProRail and Lineas.

“By integrating advanced obstacle detection into our autonomous driving systems, we have shown that it possible to make trains “see” ahead and cope safely with the unexpected. The positive results prove that Alstom possesses the technology required to support operators with autonomous driving technologies that will ultimately improve the operational performance on freight lines."

Stéphane Féray-Beaumont
Vice-President of Innovation & Smart Mobility at Alstom

The objective of the demonstration was to showcase how the intelligent obstacle detection and recognition system (ODS) works seamlessly with Alstom’s Automatic Train Operation system (ATO) to allow the train to react autonomously to various obstacles. This paves the way for the broader usage of autonomous driving into shunting operations, with the goal of increasing the capacity of freight operations; an example of advanced digital technologies driving cost-effective and sustainable mobility in the face of growing demand for freight and passenger services.

“By integrating advanced obstacle detection into our autonomous driving systems, we have shown that it possible to make trains “see” ahead and cope safely with the unexpected. The positive results prove that Alstom possesses the technology required to support operators with autonomous driving technologies that will ultimately improve the operational performance on freight lines. Through digitalisation, we will accelerate the transition towards more efficient, seamless, and sustainable transport systems,” says Stéphane Féray-Beaumont, Vice-President of Innovation & Smart Mobility at Alstom.

Diesel Locomotive from Lineas for ATO shunting tests in the Netherlands
Diesel-hydraulic shunting locomotive owned by Lineas used for the demonstration

For the demonstration, a diesel-hydraulic shunting locomotive owned by Lineas was equipped with the Alstom ATO technology interfacing with an intelligent obstacle detection and recognition systems (ODS) developed by NIART by Elta[1]. The locomotive, running autonomously, was presented with various obstacles – a person, a car, a rail wagon and an incorrectly-positioned switch – and reacted entirely autonomously and without the intervention of any active staff aboard. The ODS proved to be effective up to 500 meters away from obstacles in real-world conditions, providing a significant safety buffer in shunting yards.

NIART’s ODS is a perception system based on high resolution digital radar fused with multi-spectral electro-optics powered by classical and machine learning algorithms to detect and classify obstacles on the train route in all weather and visibility conditions. The system is a complete, self-contained on-board solution able to provide the ATO system with the information it needs to make autonomous driving decisions.

Alstom is leading the development of ATO systems in the railway sector. The Group has carried out successful ATO tests in France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the UK. The current tests at GoA4 being carried out in the Netherlands are designed to prepare the terrain for a wide range of applications in commercial operation on main lines across all grades of automation.

Alstom has demonstrated the advantages of ATO in metro transport systems around the world. Experience shows that automation leads to network capacity increase, cost reduction, energy savings and flexibility of operations. Automatic trains can run closer together, effectively increasing network capacity. Trains also operate more uniformly, leading to more effective use of energy. Automation in rail is a way for operators to maximise the productivity of their networks without making expensive changes to the infrastructure.

[1] NIART by Elta is an automotive systems spin-off created by Elta Systems.

To learn more about autonomous mobility and the grades of automation, see: