BEIJING:  China has unveiled the world’s first railless self-driving smart train in zhuzhou, in the hunan province of central China.

The train is 30 meters in length, manufactured by Chinese rail transit firm CRRC and runs on rubber tires rather than rails. Interestingly, the carriage will follow a preset path which don’t need a driver and it won’t need tracks to be laid, either.  More carriages can be added or removed if needed.

The train is equipped with sensors that’ll allow it to follow white-dotted lines on the road.

According to the manufacturer, the electric vehicle can travel up to 40 km on a full charge with a maximum speed of 70 km per hour.

Kitted out with sensors, the train can read the dimensions of roads and plan its own route. The futuristic form of public transport can move along fully autonomously and can carry up to 300 passengers, offering new options for easing modern transport pressures.

The smart bus, or Autonomous Rail Rapid Transit (ART), is touted to be much cheaper than subway or tram systems, since it doesn’t require infrastructure to be laid down. This could prove to be the solution for many medium or small cities in China that can’t afford to build train lines.

“It is like having a virtual rail for the bus,” said Feng Jianghua, chief engineer of CRRC.

It costs up to $102 million to build a kilometre of a subway track, as compared to about $2 million for a standard length ART bus, according to Xinhua reports.

A 6.5km ART line will be built in the city of Zhuzhou, with operations starting in 2018.

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