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bill937ca

East Japan Railway tests driverless operation

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Sacto1985

The Yamanote Line is probably the ONLY JR East line where this can be attempted, since the trains run something fairly close to dedicated tracks. Its operation is more akin to a subway line than a surface commuter rail line.

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Kiha66
Posted (edited)

Certainly an interesting development, and probably not too surprising considering how far automation has gone in other fields.  I wonder if the trains will still require human conductors to monitor the doors?  IIRC the Tokyo disneyland monorail is both operated as a regular train service (standard JR ticket system and gates as well as JR style platform doors) and uses driverless operations, so such a service in Tokyo isn't unheard of.

Edited by Kiha66
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chadbag
17 minutes ago, Kiha66 said:

Certainly an interesting development, and probably not too surprising considering how far automation has gone in other fields.  I wonder if the trains will still require human conductors to monitor the doors?  IIRC the Tokyo disneyland monorail is both operated as a regular train service (standard JR ticket system and gates as well as JR style platform doors) and uses driverless operations, so such a service in Tokyo isn't unheard of.

 

The Tokyo Disney Monorail is not run by JR.  It is built and run as a normal private railway, with tickets, and you can use Suica/PASMO etc on it, but not because of JR.   I heard it was for legal reasons  it was set up that way.  It is run by "Maihama Resort Line Co, Ltd."     See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disney_Resort_Line

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Kiha66

Sorry, I meant they are using a lot of JR style operations already, so comparable technology seems to already be in use not very far away.  Obviously the Yamanote line is a much larger operation than the 4 train Disney line, but hopefully it will be an evolutionary development rather than a revolutionary development which usually are much more troublesome to get right. 

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Socimi
Posted (edited)

Driverless in the sense of GoA4 automation (fully automated operation) or GoA3 (ATO semi-automatic operation)?

 

3 hours ago, Kiha66 said:

IIRC the Tokyo disneyland monorail is both operated as a regular train service (standard JR ticket system and gates as well as JR style platform doors) and uses driverless operations, so such a service in Tokyo isn't unheard of.

 

In Tokyo there are also the Yurikanome and Nippori-Toneri Liner AGTs are also GoA4 automated, and they're both far more long, heavily used and older lines than the Disney Resort monorail.

 

Still, i think the best way to "mitigate staff shortages"  (and reducing operational costs) is to implement One-Man operation (+ GoA3 ATO) such as in the case of the Namboku Line of Tokyo Metro.

 

Edit:

 

(from the article)

 

[...] Any future roll-out of automated operation would begin on routes which do not have road crossings.  [...]

 

The Yamanote DOES have one level crossing, located between Tabata and Komagome.

 

https://tokyorailwaylabyrinth.blogspot.com/2017/07/unique-spot-on-yamanote-line.html

 

IIRC there are no lines, both JR and private railways (except subways and rapid railways) in the metropolitan area, both without track-sharing and no level-crossings (and crowded enough to justify driverless operation).

 

Also

 

[...] JR East is also testing the use of a head-up display on the front window. [...]

 

Head-up display???

 

 

 

Edited by Socimi

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JR 500系

It saddens me to see Japan going driverless since it has been their upmost pride and it is such a great pleasure to watch these professionals excelling at their jobs... 

 

Nevertheless, I guess it has sort of become a need eventually... But i'm sure Japan being Japan has thought of all the safety and operations and maintenance issues and only after umpteen trial runs before going official and public... 

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Space Beaver
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Socimi said:

Driverless in the sense of GoA4 automation (fully automated operation) or GoA3 (ATO semi-automatic operation)?

 

Also

 

[...] JR East is also testing the use of a head-up display on the front window. [...]

 

Head-up display???

 

 

 

I strongly suspect that in this case, 'automatic operation' means 'on autopilot', not 'driverless'. Indeed the article does imply that actually removing the driver is not the immediate goal, so much as placing the driver in more of a supervisory role. Like an aeroplane pilot, there in case of need. For which purpose a HUD would be helpful. This approach could maybe itself cut costs by letting drivers work longer shifts so fewer are needed.

 

I am somewhat skeptical about some of the article's claims. It says that automation of rural lines is proposed but then mentions that grade seperation is needed to automate a line. Exactly how does the lower cost of automatic trains justify the enormous expense of replacing possibly hundreds of tiny footpath and country road crossings with bridges?

 

I honestly do not see how making redundant a few hundred highly trained, skilled professionals responsible for the safety of hundreds of people, with expensive new technology that may require much modification of the infrastructure is being considered a good way to cut costs.

 

Look around just about any urban or suburban station and there seems to be a whole team of men who do little more than wait by a window next to a fare gate in case someone happens to need them. Which is hardly ever the case as everything at the station is already automated. Except for the giant hub stations and stations that see huge numbers of tourists, unstaffed stations seem like a quicker and easier way to cut costs with much less impact on safety.

Edited by Space Beaver

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lesliegibson

One man operation would seem to be the way to reduce costs. It is working quite successfully on many services in the UK in particular the London underground and services which don't venture too far out into the countryside areas. There is a problem at the moment with Southern and Northern rail striking on a regular basis because of the proposed introduction of driver only (D.O.O) called 'One man' in Japan, even though there are driver only trains running within those companies. Although the  management of the companies have assured the unions that a second man will be retained at least until the end of the franchise.

The big difference is that the rail companies  want the second man to be appointed as 'train manager' and look after passenger welfare and ticketing instead of just sitting in his little cabin at the back opening and closing the doors. Of course the unions deny this, they would also lose yet more power because at the moment if a guard does not turn up the train is cancelled. whilst the rail companies are insisting on the right to run the train in this case. 

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Socimi
On 1/4/2019 at 1:56 PM, Space Beaver said:

I strongly suspect that in this case, 'automatic operation' means 'on autopilot', not 'driverless'. Indeed the article does imply that actually removing the driver is not the immediate goal, so much as placing the driver in more of a supervisory role. Like an aeroplane pilot, there in case of need. For which purpose a HUD would be helpful. This approach could maybe itself cut costs by letting drivers work longer shifts so fewer are needed.

 

I am somewhat skeptical about some of the article's claims. It says that automation of rural lines is proposed but then mentions that grade seperation is needed to automate a line. Exactly how does the lower cost of automatic trains justify the enormous expense of replacing possibly hundreds of tiny footpath and country road crossings with bridges?

 

I honestly do not see how making redundant a few hundred highly trained, skilled professionals responsible for the safety of hundreds of people, with expensive new technology that may require much modification of the infrastructure is being considered a good way to cut costs.

 

Look around just about any urban or suburban station and there seems to be a whole team of men who do little more than wait by a window next to a fare gate in case someone happens to need them. Which is hardly ever the case as everything at the station is already automated. Except for the giant hub stations and stations that see huge numbers of tourists, unstaffed stations seem like a quicker and easier way to cut costs with much less impact on safety.

 

The Tokyo Metro Namboku Line (opened in 1991), wich i mentioned in my earlier post, is run "on autopilot" with a driver "in case of need", it's semi-automatic operation (GoA3 or S/ATO).

There are also many more lines (mostly subways) running with this system.

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bill937ca
On 1/4/2019 at 7:56 AM, Space Beaver said:

I honestly do not see how making redundant a few hundred highly trained, skilled professionals responsible for the safety of hundreds of people, with expensive new technology that may require much modification of the infrastructure is being considered a good way to cut costs.

 

 

 

I wonder if this could be driven by declining labor pool numbers. In some ways

 

I think it is an extension of automated braking at stations. If JNR doesn't try they will never know what resources they could have.

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JR 500系

And like the usual high safety standard of Japan, the driver still has his hand on the brake lever for just in case stops!

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Socimi
2 hours ago, JR 500系 said:

And like the usual high safety standard of Japan, the driver still has his hand on the brake lever for just in case stops!

 

I think, rather, it's because of the presence of the dead man switch (or in more modern terms "Driver Vigilance Device") on the master controller handle.

 

 

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Sheffie
On ‎1‎/‎7‎/‎2019 at 9:09 AM, Socimi said:

 

I think, rather, it's because of the presence of the dead man switch (or in more modern terms "Driver Vigilance Device") on the master controller handle.

 

 

If it's anything like the Tesla autopilot system, it will periodically prompt the user to make a specific input, such as turning a wheel or touching a pedal, to confirm that they are still awake and attentive

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katoftw
51 minutes ago, Sheffie said:

If it's anything like the Tesla autopilot system, it will periodically prompt the user to make a specific input, such as turning a wheel or touching a pedal, to confirm that they are still awake and attentive

That is how vigilance systems work on trains.

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Socimi
7 hours ago, Sheffie said:

If it's anything like the Tesla autopilot system, it will periodically prompt the user to make a specific input, such as turning a wheel or touching a pedal, to confirm that they are still awake and attentive

 

The only input GoA3 semi-automatic systems need is the driver giving the authorization to depart to the onboard system by pressing the specific button on the control stand.

 

Video of the nighttime ATO testing on the Yamanote Line, taken between Hammatsucho and Shinbashi stations.

 

 

You can see the driver pressing the green "ATO start" button at 0:06 and at 1:33, then he only holds the dead man handle with his right hand.

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katoftw

So it is not driverless.  All they have done is taken the power and brake control away.  But all other features are controlled by the driver.

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