China, who’s certainly no stranger to pushing boundaries and coming up with unusual concepts for public transport has recently unveiled another world’s first with their new ‘ART’ train design that’s a sort of train, bus and tram hybrid all rolled into one, but it’s not this cocktail of features and characteristics that make it unique.. it’s the fact that it’s driverless and uses white lines painted onto the road as its rails.
The ART which stands for Autonomous Rail Rapid Transit is being called a “smart bus” by its creator Chinese rail transit firm CRRC and is fully electric with a range of over 40km on a full charge. Being driverless the 30-meter long bus is guided by white lines on roads and pavements that act as ‘virtual rails’ whilst a series of sensors on the vehicle help it stay on track and deal with obstacles in real time.
The current model is capable of carrying 300 passengers at a time with future models promising up to 500 people making it a viable and far cheaper alternative to the astronomical costs of building more subway tram tracks – which can cost up to $102 million for just one kilometre of track compared to just $2 million for an ART. The first 4 mile track is planned for the Chinese city of Zhuzhou and will be operational in 2018.
Check it out in action: