Public electric transport saves money when it is heavily loaded with work, but eats it up with a low passenger turnover. A luxury now available only to densely populated, wealthy cities. However, the Chinese company CRRC has developed and demonstrated what can become an alternative to all trolleybuses, trams and minibuses.
Strictly speaking, ART (Autonomous Rail Rapid Transit) still needs rails, only in his case they are painted on the asphalt, and not made of metal. The savings in budgetary funds are enormous - it is enough to apply special markings and robotic wagons will be able to run along any route. They move on soft rubber tires, but in essence they are closer to the subway cars or tram hitch than to the car.
With a length of each module of 9 meters, the ART trackless train of three cars takes on board 300 people and transports them at a speed of 70 km / h for a distance of up to 40 km on a single battery charge. Yes, it is with an electric power plant, nowadays there is almost no talk of using an internal combustion engine for city cars. Where and how it is planned to recharge the ART batteries during intensive work on the route, its developers have kept silent for the time being - they would have won the tender, and then it will be seen.
The declared "autonomy and safety" also cause slight skepticism, because in the absence of a human driver, the car needs an accident prevention system, and not a word about it. The manufacturers only hinted that the sensors analyze the width of the road, the presence of turns, exits, so there is no strict binding to the drawn rails. But who decides where the train will turn and where it will stop is not clear.
CRRC plans to build a 6.5 km ATR test line in Zhuzhou city by next year, which will pass through its center. Will this be a turning point in the history of public transport?