Beijing's first driverless subway now in operation
Beijing's first driverless subway line opened to the public today, reports the Beijing News.
The new Yanfang Line subway can autonomously complete a wide range of operations, including powering on, starting, stopping, and opening and closing carriage doors. Train cleaning is also automated. The Yanfang Line joins the small group of lines around the world with fully automated operations.
The driverless Yanfang Subway Line starts running in Beijing on December 30, 2017. [Photo: IC]
According to local transport authorities, the new automated metro is designed to be safer than a traditional subway line, while also saving labor time and operating more efficiently. Without the time needed for manual train start-up, the line cuts down the departure interval to two minutes, improving its running efficiency by five minutes each trip.
Passengers take the driverless Yanfang Subway Line in Beijing on December 30, 2017. [Photo: VCG]
Cameras are installed both inside the carriages and along the line, which transmit images to a control center for remote train control and supervision. The control center has three back-ups in case of an emergency. The new subway is said to be more responsive in emergency situations, with engineers taking into account 41 unique situations that may arise.
The interior of a carriage of the Yanfang Subway Line in Beijing on December 30, 2017 [Photo: VCG]
"Driverless subway does not mean we get rid of drivers," said Wang Wei, leading developer of the train. "The role of the driver switches to one of train supervision and focusing on taking care of the passengers."
A train stops at a platform of the Yanfang Subway Line in Beijing on December 30, 2017. [Photo: VCG]
The 14.4-km Yanfang Line, which links Beijing's southwest suburbs to its urban district, is the first fully domestically developed automated subway line on the Chinese mainland.