An incredible autonomous electric train does not need tracks!


Twitter is excited about this amazing “autonomous electric train that doesn’t need traditional tracks. It runs on a virtual track. Can go anywhere.”

We saw this movie on Treehugger a few years ago when we asked the serious philosophical question: is it a “trackless train” or a flexible bus? It was called “art”, not for Garfunkel, but for Autonomous Rain Transit. The China Rail Company of Hunan described it:

“ART uses rubber wheels on a plastic core instead of steel wheels. It is also equipped with the company’s copyrighted technology to automatically guide vehicles. It has the advantages of rail and bus transport systems and is agile and non-polluting … The first ART car is 31 meters (~ 100 ‘) in length, with a maximum load of 307 people or 48 tons. Maximum speed is 70 kilometers per hour (43MPH), and it can travel 25 kilometers (15 mi.) distance after 10 minutes of charging. ”

Treehugger thought that it was actually just a big, curved articulated bus and that it was really hard to call it a trackless train on virtual rails.

@ toastfreaker / Twitter

Don’t get me wrong, we love the idea of ​​electric articulated buses – they can transport a lot of people in an economical way. That is why they are used all over Europe and South America. But they’re not exactly amazing.

Twitter had a lot of fun with this and was full of school buses, flying buses, and articulated buses in cities around the world. The one in Trondheim seems to be the best example:

Some are too sarcastic: “It’s … a bus. I know it’s an incredible development. Something never seen before. A bus. Wow. Incredible. Better than hypersonic drones, supersonic planes, l ‘hyperloop or hydrogen vehicles. A bus. A bus. Wow. A real development. ”

Some were called back to other buses.

@ DonnyFerguson / Twitter

Other readers have pointed out that articulated buses have been around for some time.

@ zdhougton / Twitter

This exact angled rail / busless train was offered for Miami, Florida. The mayor loved the idea, saying at the time:

“I think we are on the cusp of an incredible transformation, driven by new technology that will put us ahead of other cities because we are building transportation infrastructure with these new technologies in mind. This is a solution that we can implement now. Not one that will take decades to complete. ”

@ shaybryder / Twitter

There are good reasons to build a vehicle like this; BRT, or Bus Rapid Transit, makes a lot of sense in countries where they cannot afford rail infrastructure. As Jarrett Walker noted, “there just isn’t enough money to build massive rail transport systems, at least not quickly and on the scale needed.” There are good reasons not to call it a bus either, as Laura Bliss of Citylab says there is a stigma towards buses.

“What’s in a name? When that word is ‘bus’, [there are] a lot of strongly negative reactions. Studies in cities around the world show that people overwhelmingly prefer trains – be it subways, trams or light rail systems – to buses. ”

But in the end, that’s what it is. It can be electric, it can be quasi-autonomous, it can even be useful and have a role to play, but still – it’s a bus. A big bus.

The Big Bus

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