Heathrow Driverless Pods Debut!
September 21, 2011
Welcome to the future. Well, the future as it was envisaged 60 years ago. Despite its belated delay, driverless transport has become a reality. As of this past Friday, commuters leaving and entering Terminal 5 of Heathrow International Airport will do so via drone pods. The cocooned vehicles navigate the nearly 4 km stretch from Terminal 5 to its expansive parking lot, running along tracks and using laser sensors to avoid any mishaps.
As the video’s easily excitable narrator exlaims, the battery-operated, zero-emission pods shuffle into departing platforms at a rate of 34 seconds–a marked improvement over the 15-20 minute waiting time for airport bus shuttles. After picking up passengers, who select their own destination, the pods, reaching speeds up to 25 mph, swiftly deliver them to their parked cars. The pods’ developer ULTra hopes that the transport service will carry up to 500,000 passengers annually.