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China unveils driverless smart train

Gorkha Post



BEIJING — China has unveiled the world’s first railless self-driving smart train in zhuzhou, in the hunan province of central China.

The train is 30 meters in length, manufactured by Chinese rail transit firm CRRC and runs on rubber tires rather than rails. Interestingly, the carriage will follow a preset path which don’t need a driver and it won’t need tracks to be laid, either.  More carriages can be added or removed if needed.

The train is equipped with sensors that’ll allow it to follow white-dotted lines on the road.

According to the manufacturer, the electric vehicle can travel up to 40 km on a full charge with a maximum speed of 70 km per hour.

Kitted out with sensors, the train can read the dimensions of roads and plan its own route. The futuristic form of public transport can move along fully autonomously and can carry up to 300 passengers, offering new options for easing modern transport pressures.

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The smart bus, or Autonomous Rail Rapid Transit (ART), is touted to be much cheaper than subway or tram systems, since it doesn’t require infrastructure to be laid down. This could prove to be the solution for many medium or small cities in China that can’t afford to build train lines.

“It is like having a virtual rail for the bus,” said Feng Jianghua, chief engineer of CRRC.

It costs up to $102 million to build a kilometre of a subway track, as compared to about $2 million for a standard length ART bus, according to Xinhua reports.

A 6.5km ART line will be built in the city of Zhuzhou, with operations starting in 2018.

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Science & Technology

Stephen Hawking dies aged 76

Thompson Reuters



The English physicist, who wrote ‘A Brief History of Time’ and was the subject of Oscar-winning film ‘The Theory of Everything’ , has died at home in Cambridge. He was 76.

The UK’s Press Association reported his death, citing a spokesman for the family.

Hawking, who sought to explain some of the most complicated questions of life while himself working under the shadow of a likely premature death.

He was considered a medical marvel, having lived for more than half a century with the devastating condition motor neurone disease.

Hawking’s formidable mind probed the very limits of human understanding both in the vastness of space and in the bizarre sub-molecular world of quantum theory, which he said could predict what happens at the beginning and end of time.

His work ranged from the origins of the universe itself, through the tantalizing prospect of time travel to the mysteries of space’s all-consuming black holes.

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But the power of his intellect contrasted cruelly with the weakness of his body, ravaged by the wasting motor neurone disease he contracted at the age of 21.

Hawking was confined for most of his life to a wheelchair. As his condition worsened, he had to resort to speaking through a voice synthesizer and communicating by moving his eyebrows.

Doctors gave him just two years to live, but he defied them and went on to be one of the greatest minds we have ever known.

Stephen was born on January 8 1942 in Oxford – where his parents had decamped from north London for him to be born away from the worst of the wartime bombing raids.

The disease spurred him to work harder but also contributed to the collapse of his two marriages, he wrote in a 2013 memoir ‘My Brief History.’

In the book he related how he was first diagnosed: “I felt it was very unfair – why should this happen to me,” he wrote.

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