Self-driving bullet trains? Arriving in 10 years

Updated 2018-02-27 10:10:01 China Daily

A bullet train is seen above the field of cole flowers in Zhaikou village of Rongjiang county, Southwest China's Guizhou province, Feb 3, 2018.

China's future high-speed trains might be self-driving, have a top speed around 600 kilometers per hour and an adjustable interior and entertainment system with high-speed internet, a senior engineer said on Monday.

Most of these new features will be completed within the next decade, said Ding Rongjun, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering. He also is one of the key scientists behind Fuxing - the first bullet train fully developed in China.

Fuxing, which debuted last year on the line connecting Beijing and Shanghai, has an operating speed of 350 km/h - the world's fastest. It now serves a dozen major cities, from Chengdu, Sichuan province, to Shenzhen, Guangdong province, according to the China Railway Corporation.

Chinese scientists are developing a new model of Fuxing that can adapt to different track widths and still run consistently at 400 km/h, Ding said.

"These new trains can be used effectively in Russia or countries along the Belt and Road Initiative that may have different track widths."

The new model will enter service within five years, about the same period needed to create and launch the Fuxing, Ding said. In the next eight to 10 years, China will launch a 600 km/h bullet train that is suspended from a magnetic rail - nearly twice the speed of the one currently operating in Shanghai, he said.

Chinese engineers also are aiming to make future trains more comfortable, include adding more leg room in all carriages, stronger internet signals and some high-class seats that might involve adjustable interior and entertainment systems, such as windows that can change color or serve as movie screens, Ding said.

Artificial intelligence will be included in future trains, using gadgets such as scanners that automatically check and deduct fees when passengers board and exit trains without having to deal with tickets, he said.

Trains also will have advanced self-driving systems that can predict abnormal conditions and automatically slow in case of emergencies, he added. These systems will be finished within three years.

"All of these new features will require new designs, new wiring and new software to operate safely and effectively, which can be very challenging," he said.

But Ding said he is optimistic because China has "world-leading bullet train building experience", and a "super team" of more than 1,500 highly capable scientists working in the field.

Now, China's high-speed railway network extended along 25,000 kilometers of track, which accounts for about 60 percent of the world's total, according to the corporation.

Also in the News

Nicole Kidman Recalls Oscar Glory: Loneliest Time
Showbiz2016/06/16 13:58September 21 2018 13:35:52

Nicole Kidman Recalls Oscar Glory: Loneliest Time

Attending Shanghai International Film Festival, Nicole Kidman talks about her role in "Grace of Monaco".

Labor Day Travel Peak Starts
Also in the News2014/05/01 12:16September 21 2018 13:35:52

Labor Day Travel Peak Starts

Johnny Depp Delivers a Speech 'Evolve the Future' in 'Transcendence'
Also in the News2014/04/18 13:18September 21 2018 13:35:52

Johnny Depp Delivers a Speech 'Evolve the Future' in 'Transcendence'

Hollywood star Johnny Depp's speech in the upcoming new film "Transcendence" has been disclosed on Friday, April 11th.

News:
China World Business Sports Showbiz Audio
Video:
C4 My Chinese Life The Sound Stage China Revealed Showbiz Video Travel Video
Photos:
China World Fun Travel Entertainment Sports
Travel:
Beijing Shanghai Guangzhou
Lifestyle:
Live Music Opera & Classical Movies Traditional Shows Exhibitions
Learn Chinese:
Chinese Studio Living Chinese Everyday Chinese Just For Fun Chinese Culture Buzzwords