China’s self-driving bus-train/train-bus hybrid is currently being tested out in the scorching heat of Qatar where it will reportedly provide transportation during the 2022 World Cup.
Dubbed the ART (Autonomous Rail Rapid Transit), the vehicle is essentially a tram which runs on “virtual rails” mapped out by cameras and sensors. It’s also now being labeled as a “smart bus.”
China’s CRRC began developing the ART back in 2013 as a way to ease hellish congestion in crowded Chinese urban centers. It is being billed as a cheaper alternative to metros or trams while also being more environmentally-friendly.
The ART was first shown off in 2017 in the Hunan city of Zhuzhou but this marks its first overseas test, aimed at seeing how the machine stands up to the extreme heat and humidity of Doha where land surface temperatures in July can reportedly reach 70 degrees Celsius.
We’re just sad that the “straddling bus” didn’t make it this far.