Driverless taxis are being introduced at Heathrow airport in a world’s first for a futuristic transport system.
The new system built by Advanced Transport Systems Ltd is on display at the Science Museum this week (August 11 to 13) next to icons of past transport such as Stephenson’s Rocket and a Model T Ford.
Before the exhibition I had a chat with enthusiastic inventor professor Martin Lowson, who firmly believes his ULtra Personal Pod cars can transform city centre travel providing an alternative to buses and cars where there are snarl ups.
He told me: “It’s a world first. The basic idea of Personal Rapid Transport has been around for a while but this is the first contract anywhere in the world. It’s like a personal automatic taxi but it runs on a special road which can obviously be a much smaller road than you would normally have to use.
“There is a network of stations and you go to a station and there’s usually a vehicle waiting there for you
“You make the doors open and you get in and when you’re happy you tell the vehicle where you want to go.”
“It takes you where you want to go on the best available route non stop
“This is an automatic system so safety is really important there’s a triple level of safety of control.
“Everything is scheduled rather like an air traffic control system so they each have their own slots “
The £25 million Heathrow system has already been installed and final trials are being carried out. It will run from the business car park to Terminal 5. But, if successful, BAA will look to spend £200 million expanding it to take passengers from hotels to terminals and replace all coaches at the airport.
The battery-powered pods take four people and their luggage and travel at up to 25 mph. You climb in, key in your destination on a touch screen, and it takes you there.
This needs to be in every major city around the planet, remove the cars, busses, subways and just use this system and if you want to go to another city just have really good and efficient rental cars or go by maglev train.
And there is your solution to all the car pollution inside the cities.