Germany is set to begin introducing driverless trains within the next 5 years. The Chairman of Deutsche Bahn, Rudiger Grube, reportedly told German newspapers that by 2021, 2022 or 2023 the company would be equipped with infrastructure that would facilitate autonomous trains.

The first pilot project for the self-driving trains has already begun in a test field built in the Ore Mountains, near the border with the Czech Republic.

The trains being tested in this project are making use of cameras and other collision-detection technologies in order to avoid accidents.

The German government as well as top German cars makers likes Audi and BMW has already been putting self-driving technology to the test for cars. The Transport Ministry last year set up a section of the Autobahn to test out driver-less vehicles.

Further comments by the DB chairman suggested that the rapid development of autonomous vehicle technology was making investment in driverless trains a necessity in order to remain completive into the future.

The first driverless train system went into operation in the 1960s and in the modern day there are more than 40 driverless metro and suburban rail systems. Nonetheless long distance implementations of this technology few and far between.

Germany’s plan is similar to one Singapore is already implementing. Singapore’s train operator SMRT has partnered with a Dutch company to bring automated vehicles to the country.

Chancellor Angela Merkel recently told German automakers the government is willing to invest in electric autonomous vehicles.