Hamburg will be hosting the 2021 World Congress for Intelligent Transport Systems. The city does not intend to just host a conference where people talk, but wants to walk the talk too. Hamburg plans to have four trains operating automatically on a 23 Km stretch of Route 21 connecting Berliner Tor, Bergedorf and Aumühle in time for the Congress.

In order to achieve this milestone, the city has identified 5G technology as the backbone for communication between the trains. DB Netz, which is executing the project has selected Nokia to provide the first standalone 5G system for automated rail operation. In addition to the 5G infrastructure required, the balance hardware and rolling stock is being contributed by Siemens under a Euro 60 million project.

These four trains running in the Hamburg S-Bahn will be used to showcase the technology to the world which is slowly coming around to the fact to replace GSM-R technology which is widely used today for automation with 5G.

Though the trains would retain a driver for emergency, they are expected to run autonomously and even operate unattended for nearly a 1000 m while entering and leaving the siding.