Chinese smart bus offers alternative to expensive subways

Chinese smart bus offers alternative to expensive subways

China bus train
A Chinese rail maker has developed a smart bus that runs on "virtual" tracks, for cities that cannot afford subway systems. (Photo: Twitter/XHNews)

SINGAPORE: A "train that runs on virtual tracks" has made its debut in Hunan, central China, Xinhua reported on Friday (Jun 2).  

Developed by Chinese rail maker CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive, the "smart bus" runs on electricity and is equipped with sensors that read road dimensions, allowing it to plan its own route. 

"It is like having a virtual rail for the bus," said Feng Jianghua, chief engineer of the CCRC research arm. 

Described as the "first of its kind", the 30-metre-long bus has three carriages with a total capacity of 300 passengers.

The carriages can be disconnected from each other and more can be added if needed, said the state news agency, adding that the bus can move at a maximum speed of 70km/h. 

Named the Autonomous Rail Rapid Transit (ART), the system is expected to ease traffic in small cities, where the construction of mass rail networks - which is expensive and takes too much time - is not feasible. 

A 6.5km-long demonstration track is expected to begin operation in downtown Zhuzhou in 2018.

Source: CNA/hs