China's 'Smart Train' Runs on Virtual Tracks

Thursday, 09 November 2017 - 1:19PM
Thursday, 09 November 2017 - 1:19PM
China's 'Smart Train' Runs on Virtual Tracks
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Image credit: YouTube
In China, the trains are literally driving themselves off the rails.

Incorporating elements of trams, trains and buses, the ART (Autonomous Rail Rapid Transit) "smart train" runs on electricity, and instead of rails or tracks, the ART uses rubber tires, and by way of its sensors can self-determine its own routes.
Approximately 30 meters in length, the ART was debuted recently in the Chinese city of Zhuzhou. With carriages that can carry as many as 100 passengers each, the cars are fitted with seating and standing spaces akin to a subway.

However, this conveyance rolls above the ground, using sensors that can read the dimensions of a road, and reach a top speed of almost 45 MPH.

First launching on October 23, 2017, the chief engineer and vice general manager of the CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive electric locomotive manufacturing company, said the ART had undergone 24 hours of successful road testing.

Zhuzhou is currently the only Chinese city offering ART, but you won't have to book a flight to China to try out Autonomous Rail Rapid Transit—just keep an eye on Milwaukee.

Milwaukee County has a nine-mile Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service planned that would connect various destinations through downtown Milwaukee.

The Milwaukee Independent suggested in a June 2017 piece that while "the self-driving bus aspect of it may not be practical, the rail system without a rail could be a technology that Milwaukee can utilize in a few years. For Milwaukee, with an investment in both types of transit, a virtual rail system could be an important piece in the intermodal puzzle…As Milwaukee gets serious about expanding its intermodal network, this Chіnеsе technology would provide a cost-effective option to link Southeastern Wisconsin with a much-needed commuter platform."

CRRC Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Co. released a statement in June 2017 claiming that Zhuzhou will increase its ART line to 6.5 kilometers through the city's downtown in 2018.