The 2018 Cross-Strait Transportation Forum held last week announced that Xiamen is planning to introduce an Autonomous Rail Transit (ART) system of electric self-driving vehicles along portions of the current BRT route.
According to officials from the local transport department and the CRRC Zhuzhou Institute Company, Xiamen's BRT system is well-suited for conversion into an ART system. An experimental route segment is slated to be tested this year.
ART vehicles use rubber wheels on a plastic core rather than steel wheels to run quietly without a rail line. The world's first ART unveiled in Zhuzhou, Hunan, last year with a construction cost of 30 to 40 million yuan per kilometer. Traditional subway systems typically cost at least 100 million yuan per kilometer.
A standard three-carriage ART unit is 31 meters in length and features a maximum passenger load of more than 300 passengers. The autonomous driving system includes an array of digital road sensors. The current generation of ART vehicles has a top speed of 70 kilometers per hour and can travel up to 25 kilometers after 10 minutes of charging.
By Vivian Zhang
Photos by Wang Xieyun