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China’s New Driverless, Trackless Train that Runs on Virtual Rails Launches First Commercial Line

Dubbed the ART (Autonomous Rail Rapid Transit), the vehicle is essentially a tram which runs on “virtual rails” mapped out by cameras and sensors. It’s also now being labeled as a “smart bus.”

China’s ART has succeeded where its “Straddling Bus” could not, launching for commercial use for the first time in the Sichuan city of Yibin.

Dubbed the “Autonomous Rail Rapid Transit,” the ART is essentially a driverless tram that runs on “virtual rails” mapped out by cameras and censors — so, it’s kinda like a bus too.

The Yibin ART T1 line extends for 17.7 kilometers. It’s expected to serve more than 10,000 passengers daily, a number that will go up to 25,000 once the line is extended to a high-speed railway station.

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China’s CRRC began developing the ART all the way back in 2013 as a way to ease hellish congestion in crowded Chinese urban centers. It is being billed as a cheaper alternative to metros or trams while also being more environmentally-friendly.

The ART was first shown off in 2017 in the Hunan city of Zhuzhou. Since then, there’s been a number of tests, including one in the deserts of Doha where the ART will reportedly provide transportation during the 2022 World Cup.

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Written by MT

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