Self-driving trains: are they coming to the Netherlands?

Looks like some people might be out of jobs at the Dutch Railways because they just tested self-driving trains last night. The successful trial of the train was between Kampen Zuid and Swifterbant, reports NOS. However, they say that it could be years before we actually see these trains on the tracks, so the drivers can rest easy for now. 

A train which drives, breaks and comes to a halt all on its own (well, it is preprogrammed) can seem like a huge technological leap but how happy are the drivers, whose jobs might become redundant? According to NOS, their jobs may not be in threat because it might just become “different”. But they do say that not everyone is happy with this development.

Although, everyone is excited about this new technology. Erik Kroeze, an NS spokesperson said in NOS Radio 1 Journal, “But we also hear positive sounds. We notice that a lot of drivers are interested [in it]. It’s a bit [like] asking a motorist what it is like to drive a self-driving car. It is nice for the profession to see how technology develops.”

And understandably so! This train left without any delay and even arrived at the destination on time. Right now, the trains already do a lot of the work themselves but when it comes to going faster, stoping or braking, the driver still has to do it. A new computer was built into the train’s system which tells it when to go faster and when to stop.

This is also not the first time for this technology to be tested: ProRail had successfully trialled one in Groningen all the way back in March of this year. They said the advancements in technology will not put people out of work. They said that the drivers will not be out of jobs as they will be needed to make the system that much more efficient.

Do you think they’ll be rolling them out soon? What do you think will happen to the drivers’ jobs? Let us know in the comments below!

Feature Image: Abuzer van Leeuwen/Supplied

Kavana Desai
Coping with the aftermath of her 3-year stint in the Netherlands, Kavana is a writer, content creator and editor for DutchReview. Hailing from India, she frequently blogs about the Netherlands, being Indian in the Netherlands, and everything in between. She envisions herself to one day be the youngest person to win that Nobel Prize for Literature (she is also not very humble but welcomes only constructive criticism). In the meantime, she fills her days with writing for DutchReview, writing her master's thesis on art theft, and writing fiction that will hopefully see the light of day soon.


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