PM Modi inaugurates India’s first-ever driverless train operations in Delhi

On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated India’s first-ever driverless train operations on Delhi Metro’s Magenta line via video conferencing. He also launched the National Common Mobility Card, an inter-operable transport facility that allows users to pay for travel, toll duties, retail shopping, and withdraw money using one card.

“The inauguration of the first driverless metro train shows how fast India is moving towards smart systems,” said PM Modi speaking at the event. “The first metro in the country was started with the efforts of Atal Ji. When our government was formed in 2014, only 5 cities had metro services and today 18 cities have metro rail service. By 2025, we will take this service to more than 25 cities.”

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal also attended the virtual inauguration programme.

Here’s all you need to know about the new technology:

1) The driver-less trains will be fully automated, eliminating the possibility of human error, as per the statement by PMO.

2) The service will be available on Delhi Metro’s Magenta Line which connects Janakpuri West in West Delhi to Botanical Garden in Noida. Delhi Metro’s Pink Line (Majlis Park-Shiv Vihar) is expected to have driverless trains by 2022.

3)The extension of this technology to the Pink Line will increase the driverless network on the Delhi Metro to around 94 km, which is nearly 9% of Delhi Metro’s total network.

4) Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) will now enter the elite league of 7% of the world’s Metro networks, which can operate without drivers.

5) Driverless train technology has set standards for automation called grades of automation (GoA). In GoA 1, trains are run by one driver and, in GoA 2 and GoA 3, the role of the driver is reduced to operating doors and for taking over in case of emergencies—the starting and halting of trains are automated. Finally, in the GoA 4, trains are on completely unattended operations mode.

6) DMRC has had driverless technology since 2017, but the agency has been conducting rigorous trials before launch. The initial launch was set for May 2020, but this had to be postponed because of the COVID-19 lockdown.

7) The National Common Mobility Card will be fully operationalised on the Airport Express Line and anyone carrying a RuPay-Debit card issued by 23 banks in the last 18 months can make payments.

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