Saturday, 20 January 2024 04:53

This Chinese train runs on road without track

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The Rail Bus, a pioneering mode of transportation originating in Zhuzhou, China, is a groundbreaking discovery. Introduced by the Chinese manufacturer CRRC, this self-driving vehicle, resembling a train but without tracks, completed its inaugural journey in 2017. The Rail Bus seeks to revolutionise traditional concepts of buses, trains, and trams.

The design of the Rail Bus was presented to the public in June 2023, and remarkably, within a span of fewer than five months, CRRC initiated testing on October 30, 2017. Covering a 3-kilometer route with stops at four stations in Zhuzhou, this marked a significant milestone in transportation evolution.

Operating beyond the confines of tracks, it navigates urban streets by tracing painted road markings. These meticulously designed markings serve as its guide, detected by sensors fitted beneath the vehicle. These sensors, equipped with advanced technology, capture minute details of the road, ensuring an incredibly precise journey with millimeter-level accuracy.

This real-time data is a critical component, continuously transmitted to the train operators, who rely on this information to make swift, informed decisions, ensuring the safety, efficiency, and seamless navigation of this revolutionary mode of transportation. This groundbreaking approach not only redefines the conventional idea of trains but also paves the way for a new era of flexible, urban transit systems.

Implementing this transport scheme costs just 25 percent of the subway system's expenses in China. For example, subway systems in China have an estimated cost between $57 million to $100 million, while the Rail Bus network's construction is estimated to be only 20 percent of this cost. This inspires urban planners and policymakers worldwide to consider adopting this efficient transportation solution.

Positioned as a cheaper alternative to current transportation systems in China, the electric Rail Bus requires only ten minutes of charging to cover 25 kilometres. This cost-effective and sustainable solution can reach speeds of up to 43 miles per hour and has a lifespan of around 25 years.

CRRC envisions full automation of the trains in the future. While a driver is present in the compartments, their intervention is minimal, reducing traffic congestion on roads significantly.

The Rail Bus network commenced operations in early 2018, with each Rail Bus capable of accommodating up to 300 passengers. This unique mode of transport represents a significant step toward the future of sustainable and efficient urban transportation.

China leads among developing economies in innovative transportation. Concepts like those released in 2016, even if unrealized, showcase China's commitment to offering unique modes of transport, such as the Rail Bus. There are only four stations along the 3.1-kilometer stretch where the electric train operates. The train was recently automated and has been in regular service since 2018. There are only four stations along the 3.1-kilometer stretch where the electric train operates. The train was recently automated and has been in regular service since 2018.


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