Automatic pods to transport passengers using Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport have been unveiled following a year-long trial.
The computer-driven electric vehicles can carry up to four passengers and their luggage at speeds of up to 25 mph along a dedicated 3.8km track, between the business car park and the main airport building. Heathrow passengers can choose their destinations using laser sensors.
The system – which started life as a Bristol University project – was developed by UK company ULTra and BAA and consists of 21 low energy, battery powered, driverless, zero emission vehicles.
Airport operator BAA, revealed that the batteries recharge themselves when the pods, which use sensors, are stationary.
According to ULTra , the 30 million pound project - which took six years to develop, could transport up to 500,000 passengers each year and replace 50,000 shuttle bus journeys.
According to Fraser Brown, Managing Director of Ultra PRT, the service will reduce waiting time and offer reduced journey times. He added: “it’s also an environmentally sustainable form of transport that ensures reduced emissions.
Heathrow’s Commercial Director John Holland-Kaye, revealed that there has already been positive feedback about the service He said: “Passenger feedback has been
amazing and positive Twitter comments abound. We love watching people’s reactions when they see the pods for the first time and then again when they step off just five minutes later at their destination.”
This is the latest initiative in Heathrow’s £4.8bn investment to enhance the passenger service, while reducing the environmental impact of the airport’s operation.
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