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Chinese driverless train – something for Phuket?

The world’s first driverless rail transit system was unveiled in Hunan, China this week. The bus-rail combo rapid transit system is expected to speed up city’s public transportation.

According to Chinese railcar-maker CRRC, the Autonomous Rail Transit (ART) uses rubber wheels on a plastic core instead of steel wheels. It’s also equipped with the company’s copyrighted technology to automatically guide the vehicles. It carries the advantages of both rail and bus transit systems and is agile and non-polluting, Thepaper.cn reported.

Compared with electric streetcars, which cost 150-200 million yuan per kilometer (750 million baht to 1 billion), ART is only about one-fifth the investment – around 225 million baht per kilometer.

CRRC began designing the ART system in 2013. The first ART car is 31 meters in length, with a maximum passenger load of 307 people or 48 tons. Its top speed is 70 kilometers per hour, and it can travel 25 kilometers in distance after 10 minutes of charging.

The world’s first ART line will be launched in Zhuzhou, with a total length of 6.5 kilometers. Upon completion, it will be able to dock with the city’s mid-low speed maglev train.

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