China unveils electric road train that runs on painted "tracks"


Posts: 7,302   +65
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You may remember the hype surrounding China’s straddling bus/train last year. After making headlines around the world, it turned out that the vehicle wasn’t all the developers claimed, and it ended up mired in scandal and abandoned in the middle of a road. But another vehicle from the Asian nation looks much closer to a real “road train.”

Chinese railcar-maker CRRC is referring to this mode of public transportation as a “smart bus.” Unlike the straddling bus, the Autonomous Rail Transit (ART) doesn’t require tracks that are embedded into the ground. Running on rubber wheels, the vehicle follows a preset path using sensors that keep it over the white-dotted lines painted on the road.

The carriage doesn’t even need a driver but, as with self-driving cars, the video shows one behind the wheel, presumably to take control if the need arises. At 105-feet long and over 11-feet tall, this electric bus/train can reach 43.5 mph and carry 307 passengers, though more sections can be added to increase capacity. Moreover, it can travel 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) after just 10 minutes of charging.

Unlike subway trains, which cost around $58 million to $102 million to build every kilometer of track, the low-impact infrastructure of the ART means it costs around $2 million per kilometer.

The first ART line will be 6.5 km (approx. 4 miles) long and is set to launch in Zhuzhou sometime next year. When finished, it will be able to dock with the city’s mid-low speed maglev train.

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Posts: 3,730   +4,749
This was first experimented with maybe 15 years ago. The idea didn't catch on because it required dedicated lanes, since the AI necessary for avoiding collisions didn't exist yet. That was impractical throughout most of the world. Of course the dedicated lanes won't be a problem in China if the government decides its a great will happen regardless of the consequences. Unfortunately AI-controlled public street transportation will never work in the US because the vehicles will be instantly vandalized, stolen, etc.

Uncle Al

Posts: 8,369   +7,176
I'm just hoping it has better success than that two story bus they launched last year. The one that was supposed to run "above" traffic lanes. Never made it's test run and apparently is still sitting still, waiting for the wrecking ball ...

Uncle Al

Posts: 8,369   +7,176
Straddle Bus ..... that's it! I couldn't remember and missed it in the first paragraph ..... I think I need to start reading more monitor reviews .... any good ones that are 6'x4'?


Posts: 141   +162
It'll never happen in China. No one here obeys lanes, or even direction of flow instructions. Ebikes and tuk-tuks go the wrong way and diagonally across all lanes of traffic, people drive on the sidewalk and against oncoming traffic, and all of them are reading/sending texts at the same time. I have been hit 4 times in years, and yelled at even though I was following the painted and published rules.

Not to mention the fact that many drivers have forged licenses, since driver training and testing is expensive, time-consuming, and rarely passable on the first attempt.