the world’s first railless train has been unveiled in zhuzhou, in the hunan province of central china. the self-driving train, which is 30 meters in length, is part of the intelligent rail express system by chinese rail provider CRRC zhuzhou, and runs on rubber tires rather than rails. kitted out with sensors, the train can read the dimensions of roads and plan its own route. in fact, it’s much like having a virtual rail for the train. the futuristic form of public transport can move along fully autonomously at a speed of 70 km/h and can carry up to 500 passengers, offering new options for easing modern transport pressures. as it’s green coloring would suggest, the train is eco-friendly powered by electricity, yet can still travel over a distance of 40km per full charge.


CRRC zhuzhou’s vehicle is the first ‘railless train’ that the world has seen
all images courtesy of CRRC zhuzhou

 

 

the train–which has assumed the name of ART, meaning autonomous rail rapid transit–is an initiative to help medium-sized and small citie which cannot affort to lay down rails or install expensive transport systems. whilst a railway track would take too much time and workforce to build in zhuzhou, according to the city’s government, operations to paint a 6.5 km ART line will be built downtown zhuzhou will already begin in 2018. CRRC’s train is made up of three carriages, each with a capacity of 300 people. in the future, a five-carriage train can hold as many as 500 passengers.


the train is kitted out with sensors that help it determine the size of roads and plan its journey


the train runs on an electric battery and can run 40 minutes on a single charge


the vehicle is known as ART, meaning autonomous rapid rail transit

  • ….what if by some reason, anyone wants to add some extra lines on the ground??

    pepo says:
  • Another fake project just like the BUS over the TRAFFIC
    btw, where is the innovation here?

    lol “futuristic” china is a joke

    Ching Chong says:
  • Bus.
    It’s called a bus.

    mr. obvious says:
  • We could used these in Ontario Canada.
    Wonder if they have they been tested in snow and icy conditions ?
    China is certainly way ahead of anything in North America when it comes to trains, especially high speed.

    Silly, juvenile comments are not needed on this story. Pathetic

    Lloyd Le Blanc says:
  • Good one Pepo! Just paint on the pavement that leads to a ramp on the sidewalk and to an alley. Ha-ha-ha!!

    Tung Cab says:
  • 40 minutes per charge? That will be one one-way trip on a short route before the bus needs to be recharged. I wonder how long that takes. As others have pointed out, this “breakthrough” is an interesting idea that is far from ready for use. (Maybe in China, where the authorities can cover up the problems it has and the pedestrians it mows down.)

    DKB says:
  • Now if they could embed a power source in the pavement that charged thru a plate in the train…. that would be great.

    Richard says:
  • Wish to hear more testing over extreme weather, like 40+ degree C hot weather, raining day with water 20 cm above the road, cold weather -20 degree C, windy day like typhoon… etc. Also, when a car accident happen, how to rescue the train from an intersection…

    Joe says:
  • Sounds very similar to (though less advanced than) the Phileas project (1998) in Eindhoven. This works with a pre-programmed route, verified by using magnets in the road. Unfortunately, Dutch law did not allow for a driverless vehicle, so there’s still a driver present.

    Jan says:
  • Charging systems embedded in the road were not considered, for sure, since this transportation solution “is an initiative to help medium-sized and small cities which cannot afford to lay down rails or install expensive transport systems”. As for the autonomy, I think the “40 km per charge” spec is the correct one. Of course, this is not a new idea, but what matters is its actual materialization and implementation. I’m sure the train has a much more complex autonomous system than just following painted lines. This is just the “sensational bait” in the news.

    Costan says:
  • Look at the racist trolls here.. instead of hating, make yourself useful: e.g get an education, and design a better solution… chingchong?? WTF..
    Bi-articulated buses similar to this have been used widely since the 80s from Bogota to Groningen. The difference with this ‘train’ is that the buses utilize existing road networks and do not have a designated track (whether that painted, magnetic or steel).

    trollbuster says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

comments policy
LOG IN
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.

technology news