Self-driving, trackless tram sets off in China

An innovative tram has started traveling around Yibin in southwestern China. Combining a bus, train and tram, the vehicle is self-driving and can depart from its tracks thanks to a set of wheels.

The autonomous Rail Rapid Transit recently launched in Yibin, announced a statement from China News. The innovative vehicle covers an 18-kilometre circuit, following a given route but running on its own rubber wheels rather than tracks.

In case of emergency, it can divert from the rails and continue its journey on wheels. This trackless feature also reduced investment costs compared to standard tramways, because rails did not need to be installed.

The system has been trialed for two years. Thanks to optical and other sensors, as well as a navigation system, the tram does not require a driver, though the option is there. It has three carriages and can hold up to 300 people.

Photo credit: N509FZ [CC BY-SA (]

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