Production of the first driverless train for the ongoing Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) phase II project began on Thursday at the Alstom factory in Sri City.A team from Chennai visited the facility to observe the start of production on the new train, which is expected to arrive in the city by August.Unlike the manually operated trains used in phase I of the Chennai Metro, the 116km phase II project will utilise three-coach driverless trains that will enter passenger service for the first time in December 2025 on the Poonamallee-Porur corridor.While maintaining the iconic blue colour scheme of the existing Chennai Metro trains, the new driverless units will offer an array of upgraded features for passengers, including mobile phone charging points and digital route maps.Part of one coach on the three-coach trains will be designated as women-only, with pink handrails. Enhanced security measures will also be in place, with cameras fitted at the front, sides and rear of the trains, said a CMRL spokesperson. The trains are equipped with advanced systems for fire detection, derailment detection and obstacle detection to improve safety.Extensive testing plannedAfter arriving in Chennai, each new train will undergo testing for approximately 8-10 months before entering passenger service.The phase II trains will go through rigorous static and dynamic testing of everything from brakes to traction power, the spokesperson stated. A special restricted area has been set aside for dynamic trials of these driverless units. A series of assessments and approvals will be required before the trains are certified for public operation.