China has unveiled the world's first ‘railless train’ that runs on a virtual track making use of a sensor technology instead of metal rails.
This Autonomous Rail Rapid Transit (ART) has been developed by China's CRRC Zhuzhou Institute. It is a part of China's attempts to develop an ‘intelligent rail express system’. The company also makes key parts for high-speed railways.
• The 30-metre long train at present has three carriages and can carry around 300 passengers.
• The number of carriages can be increased in the future, taking the total capacity up to 500 passengers.
• The train is fitted with sensors that allow it to detect the dimensions of the roads and plan its own route without the need for metal railway tracks.
• Further, it has rubber wheels, which can be automatically guided without rails.
• The train is also non-polluting and environment friendly, as it is battery powered.
• While it can travel a distance of 25 km by just charging for 10 minutes, on a full charge, it can travel for distances up to 40 km.
• It is capable of moving at a maximum speed of 70 km/hr.
• It will be launched out for public use in 2018 in the Chinese city of Zhuzhou to help deal with the traffic in the area.
Overall, the cost of the new train is only a fifth of the price of a traditional subway system and its lifespan is expected to be around 25 years. China plans to build a 6.5 km long ART line through the Chinese city of Zhuzhou for this new train and operations for the same are expected to start in 2018.
Besides this, China is also testing a bus that can move while straddling the road, allowing the traffic to pass under it.