German railway operator lines up driverless automobile service

A passenger enters a train during a strike by GDL train drivers union at the main train station in Munich, Germany, May 20, 2015. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle/File Photo

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - State-owned German rail operator Deutsche Bahn [DBN.UL] is looking to operate a fleet of driverless cars to carry passengers, its boss told a German newspaper.

Chief executive Ruediger Grube explained in Thursday’s WirtschaftsWoche that the logic for the move was that Deutsche Bahn was already promoting its services as allowing passengers to use their travel time productively or enjoyably.

“If in the future autonomous cars can do this, then the operators of these cars can claim the same about their services. That’s why we will have to add autonomously driving cars to our offering,” Grube was quoted as saying.

Global carmakers, automotive parts suppliers and technology companies are racing to develop intelligent, self-driving cars.

Alphabet Inc’s Google and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV said this week they had agreed to work together on self-driving minivans.

Deutsche Bahn had 40.5 billion euros ($46 billion) in revenues last year, 42.5 percent of which came from transporting passengers.

Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Alexander Smith