A futuristic train that runs on virtual tracks has opened its doors to passengers for the first time in Sichuan, China.
The bizarre concept of a locomotive that uses a network of sensors instead of traditional tracks was first revealed two years ago, but has only gone live this month.
The ART T1 monitors road dimensions and plots its own route instead of being fixed to physical tracks.
The virtual railway, which runs for 11 miles (17.7 km) through the middle of the city Yibin, cost an estimated 1.128 billion yuan (£120million) to build.
A human will sit behind the controls of the vehicle, but will not drive it.
Their role is to be alert in case of failure or emergency. If the train strays outside the designated yellow lines or an obstruction is in place it will automatically switch to manual mode.
A combination of LIDAR and GPS will guide the train through the streets, in a similar was to autonomous cars being developed around the world.
It is thought that up to 10,000 passengers will use the new train every day, rising to 25,000 after it is connected to the nearby high-speed rail network.
The Yibin ART T1 line train could travel as quickly as 43mph (70kmh) and carry as many as 300 passengers at a time.
The rail system, called ART or Autonomous Rail Rapid Transit, has been developed by China’s CRRC Corporation Limited, one of the world’s largest train manufacturers.
CHINA’S SMART RAIL
The CRRC Corporation Limited began designing the new system in 2013.
The transit system uses rubber wheels on a plastic core and has new technology copyrighted by the rail corporation.
The track-less train is said to have a life-span of around 25 years.
After 10 minutes of charging, the train can travel 25 kilometres (15.5 miles).