Robot trains? Railroads call for greater automation

In comments filed to the Federal Railroad Administration and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration this month, the Association of American Railroads argued that in order to improve railroad efficiency and capacity, automation in the industry is necessary. Fully automated trains, the association said, “are certainly in the future” and plausible, either with human crews or without them.

“The bottom line is machines can detect more, respond faster, and provide a larger window for action, than a safety system that is subject to the limitations inherent in human eyes, minds and hands,” the association said.