India is taking an important step toward automation today. After grueling testing over the past two years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has signaled India’s first driverless metro operations in Delhi today. The driverless metro will operate on the Magenta Line of the Delhi Metro, which opened in 2017. This metro line runs for 37 km and connects Janakpuri West with the Botanical Garden.
India’s first driverless metro in Delhi
The driverless metro train on the Magenta line is fully automated. This means that it will be run independently (with close supervision), on time, and will eliminate the possibility of human error. This means that your metro train at this Magenta line will have no driver as of today. This “will herald a new era of travel support also improved mobility,” according to this official government press release. Furthermore, it shows “how fast the country is moving towards smart systems,” Prime Minister Modi said at the virtual launch of driverless metro technology.
How many passengers can the metro transport without a driver? The Magenta Line trains will have six carriages. Each coach can accommodate up to 38 passengers, so around 2,300 passengers can easily travel using the driverless metro. This is equipped with more energy-efficient LED lighting, AC systems, also a better braking system. You can see the entire opening ceremony right here:
This technology makes DMRC (Delhi Metro Rail Corporation) enter an “elite league of 7 percent of the world’s metro networks” that can operate without a driver. It was initially scheduled to roll out in May but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Delhi metro service was closed for nearly six months to prevent the spread of the virus.
Expansion plans for Metro without driver
The driverless metro operation may have started with the Magenta Line, but the government relies on this technology. It plans to extend driverless trains to the 57km-long Pink Line (connecting Majlis Park with Shiv Vihar) in mid-2021.
This is a small step towards making the Delhi metro driverless. The combination of the magenta and pink lines will create a 94km stretch without a driver, which seems like a lot. But, it covers only 9% of the ground compared to the huge Delhi metro network. Additionally, the government aims to expand metro services to more cities in the coming years.
“This first metro in the country began with the effort of Atal Ji. When our government was formed in 2014, only 5 cities had subway services and today 18 cities have subway train services. By 2025, we will bring this service to more than 25 cities, ”Prime Minister Modi said at the opening ceremony.
Besides this driverless metro train, PM Modi also shared that this National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) is presently fully operational on this airport line in Delhi. If you don’t know, this is a unique card that can not only be used for public transportation, but also pay toll taxes, retail purchases, and withdraw money if necessary.