Safer, more productive journeys
The main advantages to spring from the shift from manually operated trains to a fully autonomous system is safety and productivity.
In a manual system, every time one driver ends their shift and another comes on board, the train needs to stop. On a typical journey a train will stop three times, adding more than an hour to the journey. The trains that move iron ore from the mines to the port for shipping are 2.4 kilometres long.
"The time-saving benefit is enormous because the train network is a core part of the mining operation. If we can prevent those stoppages, we can keep the network ticking over, allowing more ore to be transported to the ports and shipped off more efficiently," says Lido.
"The other major benefit is safety," he continues. "We are removing the need to transport drivers 1.5 million kilometres each year to and from trains as they change their shift. This high-risk activity is something that driverless trains will largely reduce."
Lido has been involved in train technology for more than four decades. He was part of the team that built the high-speed train linking Madrid and Seville in the 1990s, worked on the underground network in Frankfurt, and was the chief engineer on the Perth to Mandurah rail line.
Implementing driverless trains is a whole other level of satisfaction for Lido. "This is by far the most exciting project I've ever worked on from the perspective of innovation and world-first technology. It is the highlight of my career."