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Companies join forces to develop autonomous trams in China

Fitsco and Cognitive Pilot have signed a contract to develop an artificial intelligence-based computer vision system, which aims to increase the safety and efficiency of public transport.

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During upcoming tests the tram operator will act as a safety controller
During upcoming tests the tram operator will act as a safety controller

Shanghai Fuxin Intelligent Transportation Solutions Company (Fitsco) and technology company Cognitive Pilot are joining forces to develop an artificial intelligence (AI)-based computer vision system for autonomous trams in China.

 

The joint project will consist of research and development, testing and the commercialisation stages.

 

Increasing safety

 

Fitsco is one of China’s main urban rail transit signalling system providers while Cognitive Pilot is an autonomous driving technology joint venture of Russia’s Sberbank and Cognitive Technologies Group.

 

In a statement, Jack Wu, CEO of Fitsco, said the joint AI-based solution will increase the level of safety and efficiency of public transport. “The new technology will reduce the number of transport accidents in the city and will minimise their dependence on the human factor,” he claimed.

 

The first stages of the project will focus on the development of the AI-based advanced driver assistance system (ADAS). “In the absence of a proper reaction from the driver, the tram will automatically control its speed and will brake in front of the obstacles,” added Olga Uskova, CEO of Cognitive Pilot.

 

“During all the upcoming tests, the tram operator will still be in the cab, but he will act as a safety controller.”

The AI-based solution aims to decrease dependence on the human factor and improve safety
The AI-based solution aims to decrease dependence on the human factor and improve safety
The ADAS is designed to automatically control its speed and brake in front of obstacles
The ADAS is designed to automatically control its speed and brake in front of obstacles

Wu continued: “We expect that with the successful implementation of our joint project, we will continue increasing the AI level of the tram autopilot and in the nearest future we will demonstrate its fully autonomous prototype.”

“During all the upcoming tests, the tram operator will still be in the cab, but he will act as a safety controller.”

In 2019, Cognitive Pilot embarked on a joint project with the Russian tram manufacturer PC Transport Systems on the development of an autonomous tram in Moscow. The autonomous driving system detects vehicles and other trams, traffic lights, pedestrians, tram and bus stops, railway switches and various obstacles.

 

The company claims that the tram is also able to stop in front of the obstacles, maintain a safe distance to the cars ahead, accelerate and stop. The fully autonomous tram will be developed by 2021-2022.

 

Fitsco has also undertaken the comprehensive signalling and communication construction for Shanghai Metro Line 8 APM project, Shanghai Pudong Airport Express Project, Qingdao Metro Line 6 Demonstration Project (Train Autonomous Circumambulation System), Taiyuan Metro Line2 as well as many other projects in Shanghai, Suzhou, Huai’an and Wuhan.

 

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