Date:9 June 2017
A “railless train” will soon hit the streets of Zhuzhou, China. This new autonomous electric train-bus hybrid drives on rail-like white painted lines – almost like a virtual train track.
The Autonomous Rail Rapid Transit (ART) runs on rubber tires along regular asphalt roads and is equipped with sensors that can read the dimensions of the road and plan its own route.
This self-driving railless train is part of the intelligent rail express system developed by Chinese rail provider CRRC Zhuzhou Institute Co Ltd. The developer describes the ART as the world’s first railless train.
The train measures about 9 meters in width, 30 metres in length and has a top speed of 70 km/h and can carry up to 300 passengers. It’s articulation allows more carriages to be added, making space for 200 extra passengers.
The transit system is expected to be much cheaper than a subway or tram system since it doesn’t require special infrastructure. To build a kilometre of a subway track it can costs up to $102 million (over R1,3 billion), where the standard length ART bus costs only $2 million (about R25,8 million).
The ART will be offered as a cheaper alternative to rail-based public transport. This will help most medium-sized and small cities in China that can’t afford the expense of subway systems.
As the green colour of the train suggests, it’s eco-friendly and powered by electricity. A single charge will allow it to travel more than 40 kilometres.
The first public operation of the the ART will follow a 6,5 kilometre route through downtown Zhuzhou city. Te company expects it to begin early next year.
Video Credit: CGTN