Driverless cars shuttle Heathrow passengers

Autonomous cars aren't the future--they're already in use. London's Heathrow Airport swapped 2 diesel buses for 22 electric pods that shuttle passengers from a terminal to the parking lot without the aid of a driver.

Driverless electric pods at Heathrow Airport.
Driverless electric pods at Heathrow Airport. Ultra PRT

Autonomous cars aren't the future--they're already here and in use in London. Heathrow Airport swapped 2 diesel buses for 22 electric pods that shuttle passengers from Terminal 5 to the parking lot without the help of a driver.

Each electric pod can carry up to four passengers and their luggage. At the terminal, passengers request a pod and enter their destination.

Once in the pod, passengers don't have to worry about traffic or the pod's ability to navigate around cars because they travel on designated roadways. It takes the pods about five to six minutes to travel approximately 1.2 miles to the T5 Business Car Park.

The autonomous vehicles, made by Ultra PRT, have yet to be in an accident, according to an article in the New York Times. They operate at a top speed of around 25 mph, and can handle light snow. Because the electric vehicles operate only when needed, they're more energy efficient than the pair of diesel buses that formerly looped the airport, stopping at every drop-off point regardless of the passenger load.

But the best part of the service is that there's no driver to tip.

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Show Comments Hide Comments