UK town to officially deploy driverless pods for public transport

By on November 6, 2013, 12:15 PM
london, uk, driverless cars, heathrow, ultra prt

Driverless cars on public roads will soon become reality in Milton Keynes, UK. The town, which lies north of London, is preparing to replace the existing old and noisy buses with a fleet of 100 ULTra PRT transport pods. Each pod has capacity to carry 2 passengers along with their baggage and travels at a speed of 12 miles per hour. As per the initial plan, pods will carry passengers between downtown area, train station and business district. Fares will be £2 per trip and pedestrians will have to use a smartphone app to hail a pod.

The pods are driven by computers but can be controlled by passengers in case of any problem. A similar system is already in place at Heathrow airport in London and is being used for shuttling passengers from terminal to terminal. The system is operational since 2011 and there have been no major incidents so far.

With an estimated budget of £65 million, the pilot project would require laying down special roadway and charging stations for the pods. The special roadway would contain safety bumpers to separate the pods from regular traffic and charging stations would be set up en route. The current plan is to have the system up and running by 2015 and fully operational by 2017.

If everything goes well and the project succeeds, the idea is to have pods no longer run on restricted lanes, paving the way for driverless public transport systems and personal vehicles.




User Comments: 9

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Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

It's great but what about vandalism to the pods, throwing obstacles in front of pods, blocking their roadway etc? Some people are worse than wild animals.

Guest said:

You can do so to normal cars too. Human will react slower than this.

2 people like this | amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

It's great but what about vandalism to the pods, throwing obstacles in front of pods, blocking their roadway etc? Some people are worse than wild animals.

There's a place for those people, its called The United States of America.

CyberFlux CyberFlux said:

That's awesome, just like in my sci-fi movies!

But one curiosity I have is why you need to activate an app to hail a pod, like, how will that even work, it homes in on your position? Why not just have a button? The questions!

yukka, TechSpot Paladin, said:

No smartphone, no bus. That'll cheer up the unemployed

2 people like this | cartera said:

No smartphone, no bus. That'll cheer up the unemployed

I assume you're not from the UK because over here people on benefits somehow can afford the essentials like the latest iPhone and sky /cable TV!

Emexrulsier said:

No smartphone, no bus. That'll cheer up the unemployed

I assume you're not from the UK because over here people on benefits somehow can afford the essentials like the latest iPhone and sky /cable TV!

Lol cartera it's so true, made even worse they seem to have bigger TVs, more cars and live on the same street of you but pay nothing for the privilege. Made worse that they they claim to "earn" x amount. I'm all for a benefit system to put a roof over someones head and some food but it should be the most basic of these and you have to work and earn your way to a better standard of living.

Anyways back on topic, isn't this just a glorified lift (elevator?) inside of being vertical it's horizontal you call it and press start (floor button) only difference is is that is costs you.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

There's a place for those people, its called The United States of America.

Nah it can't nearly be as bad as some of our civilized, upstanding citizens of South Africa. Here they throw human faeces (waste) at some politicians.

Guest said:

Or Wembley Stadium.

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