AI robots among new features of Metro Line 13 extension

The second and third phases of Metro Line 13 have passed professional evaluations and will soon enter operation, the city's Metro operator have announced.

Filmed by Jiang Xiaowei. Edited by Zhong Youyang. Translated by Chen Zheyu. Polished by Andy Boreham.

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

The interior of Changqing Road Station of Line 13

The second and third phases of Metro Line 13 have been tested and are ready to go into full-scale operation, the city’s Metro operator has announced.

The new part of Line 13 covers 12 stations — four of them transfer stations — with some special features for the convenience of passengers, especially those who are disabled, according to Shanghai Shentong Metro Group.

Platforms have LED information screens and USB charging points for passengers who need to charge their electronic devices. There are toilets with disabled access and breast-feeding rooms on all platforms.

Bilingual information screens have been installed in the new stations above ticket machines showing the timetable and real-time location of trains.

Blind passengers can download an app called Ditie DaoMang (Blind Navigation) to their phones and follow voice guidance to find toilets or exits.

“Since GPS signals are weak in stations, we use Bluetooth to locate the passenger,” You Xufeng, a manager with the construction company, said.

So far the system can only be used at Line 13’s new stations, and only by iPhone.

The blind tracks on the station floors are designed in contrasting colors to the rest of the floor so passengers with weak eyesight will be able to distinguish them.

Wheelchair signs on the new stations’ platforms correspond to carriages with wheelchair spaces.

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

A man talks with a robot at Zhongke Road Station of Line 13 in Shanghai on December 20, 2018.

At the Zhongke Road Station, two AI robots provide information. They can only speak Chinese for now, but more functions, including ticketing and lost and found services, will be added.

Instead of screens above the platforms, imaging technology is used to provide timetables. Images and TV commercials will be projected onto the glass of the safety doors when no trains are in the station.

The Metro operator asked well-known calligraphers to design the station name signs. Gu Zhenle, who is 104, inscribed the Changqing Road Station sign.

“We want to make this station an artistic space where passengers can relax,” said You.

The station also features gentle Chinese music and relaxing fragrances.

Line 13 opened temporarily in 2010 as the World Expo commuter line and stopped at Madang Road, the World Expo Museum and Shibo Avenue.

When the second and third phases open, the line will cover 31 stops over 38 kilometers.

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