China has done it again! In another world first, the country unveiled a new 'ART' train design, which is a mix of bus, tram and train all in one. The most intriguing part of the design is that it follows dotted white lines painted on the road, rather than the usual metal rails.
DeMilked reports that ART stands for Autonomous Rail Rapid Transit. 30-meters in length and fully electric, the driverless bus can travel over 40km on a full charge. Its creator, Chinese rail transit firm CRRC, refers to it as a "smart bus." This is because the driverless transportation unit is guided by the white lines on the pavement and sensors along its route (combined with sensors on the vehicle itself) to navigate the "virtual rails." Best of all, the smart bus can adapt to its surroundings in real time in the event of unexpected situations.
Approximately 300 passengers can fit across three carriages in the first model. With configurations, up to 500 could transit on the smart bus at one time. Rubber tires are used instead of metal rails.
The design could have grand implications, as it was invented specifically for communities that cannot afford expensive subway or tram projects. To build a kilometer of a subway track, for instance, it costs $102 million. In contrast, a standard length ART bus costs $2 million, says a report by Chinese state media Xinhua.
Residents and tourists can expect to take advantage of the 4-mile ART line in 2018, where it will be built in the Chinese city of Zhuzhou.