The world's first rail-free driverless autonomous train successfully completed its first test run in Central China's Hunan province, Zhuzhou.
The 30 metre, three carriage train was designed by Chinese transport manufacturer CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive, and runs on rubber tires rather than rails.
The train can move at a speed of 70km/h is powered by electricity and can travel 25 kilometres with a 10-minute charge, and 40km per full charge.
The trains tyres are guided by on-board sensors that can read the dimensions of roads and plan its route without a driver, simulating a "virtual rail system".
A maximum of five carriages can make up the train’s body, making its capacity up to 500 passengers, offering new options for easing modern transport pressures.
The train will become part of an intelligent rail express system called the ART, or Autonomous Rail Rapid Transit, which was developed by CRRC and unveiled in June this year.
The system was inspired by the logistical and financial restrictions preventing China’s medium-sized and small cities from building expensive subway systems. The concept was reportedly brought to life around 2013 when it was clear a solution was needed quickly to “ease hellish congestion in China's crowded urban centres”.
According to the government of Zhuzhou city in Hunan province, a 6.5-kilometre ART line will be built through downtown Zhuzhou and operations will start in 2018.
The developer said that the system cost just one-fifth a traditional tram system that was priced at 150 million yuan (22.6 million U.S. dollars) to 200 million yuan for each kilometre of the route.