Heathrow unveils driverless pods for passengers

Zero-emission vehicles can carry four passengers and their luggage

Heathrow Airport has this week unveiled the Heathrow pod, an innovative transport system and, the airport says, the first new example of transit technology in 100 years. The Heathrow pod system, developed by the UK company Ultra and Heathrow owner BAA, consists of 21 low energy, battery powered, driverless, zero-emission vehicles capable of carrying four passengers each and their luggage along a 3.8km guide way. The pods are designed to carry 500,000 passengers a year – those who are travelling between the Terminal 5 Business Car Park and the main terminal – giving them a smooth and silent five-minute ride. The journeys are activated on demand.
The pods are expected to eliminate 50,000 bus journeys on the roads around Heathrow each year. The journey time to and from the terminal is congestion free and around 10 minutes less for the average passenger, compared to the original buses. The pods can travel at up to 40km/h, using 70% less energy than it takes to power a car, and 50% less than a bus.
[Photo © BAA Airports Limited]