Expect to see S’wak’s autonomous rapid transit vehicle in action in Q3 2023

The Art vehicle Sarawak Metro is using to implement its proof-of-concept (POC) exercise in the third quarter of 2023.

KUCHING, Jan 10: Sarawakians, especially Kuchingites, will get the opportunity to have the first look at the Autonomous Rapid Transit (ART) vehicle in action as Sarawak Metro Sdn Bhd (Sarawak Metro) is expected to implement the proof-of-concept (POC) exercise in the third quarter of this year.

Kuching Urban Transportation System (KUTS) project director Zafrin Zakaria said the ART vehicle is a hybrid vehicle — a cross between a train, a bus and a tram — powered by hydrogen fuel cells, uses rubber tyres and runs on virtual tracks on dedicated lanes.

“The ART we will use for the KUTS project will have three car coaches, each accommodating 100 passengers.

“The ART is designed with multi-axles and can move bi-directionally, allowing for a higher degree of flexibility to manoeuvre,” he said in a media release today.

Zafrin highlighted this during his presentation at the Sustainable Future Conference organised by Curtin Academy at the Curtin University, Malaysia campus in Miri today.

He also disclosed that the ART could run on normal road surfaces and has a design speed of up to 70km per hour.

“Although our ART is autonomous to a certain degree, the current legislation does not allow driverless operations of any vehicle on the roads. Hence, we will still have a person at the wheel of our ART.

“And since our ART vehicles are trackless, this also allows us to create special routes, to further improve convenience for our passengers,” he added.

With proposed routes for the three lines under Phase 1 of the KUTS project totalling 69.9km, Zafrin elaborated that it will be constructed mostly at road level (at-grade), while less than 20 per cent of the alignment will be elevated.

Sarawak Metro, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC), is developing three lines, namely the Blue Line from Rembus in Kota Samarahan to Hikmah Exchange in Kuching city covering a distance of 27.6km; the Red Line from Kuching Sentral to Pending (12.3km); and the Green Line from Pending to Damai Central in Santubong (30km).

Zafrin also highlighted that Sarawak Metro’s efforts in modernising the public transport system in Kuching were in tandem with the Sarawak government’s initiative to decarbonise public transportation through the adoption of zero-emission vehicles.

“The ART vehicle will be powered by hydrogen fuel cells, an effort that we are aligning with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) on climate change,” he said, adding that the move is also in support of the government’s initiative to advance the hydrogen economy as part of Sarawak’s transformation into an advanced State by 2030.

Zafrin emphasised that Sarawak Metro is looking forward to reaching more milestones charted for this year, particularly in the development of Phase 1 of the KUTS Project, which was officially launched last December to coincide with the start of the advanced works for the Rembus Depot in Kota Samarahan. — DayakDaily