First driverless pod revealed, trials starting soon

The first driverless pod, used to transport people through pedestrianised areas, has been revealed, the media have reported on Tuesday.

The pod has been revealed in Milton Keynes as part of the Transport Systems Catapult (TSC) project.

The final design was presented to the public at the Milton Keynes Central train station: This is the first driverless vehicle of its type to operate in public areas in the UK.

After it was unveiled, the device was delivered to Oxford University's Mobile Robotics Group to begin the installation of the autonomous control system. The public tests will start soon, right after a series of calibration tests.

"This is a very exciting day for everybody involved in the LUTZ Pathfinder project, because it signals the completion of the manufacturing phase and the effective start of the autonomous technology trial," said TSC CEO Steve Yianni.

"When you consider that there wasn't even a design in place for this vehicle less than 18 months ago, it has been a really quick turnaround to have our first research vehicle ready to start work, and this has only been possible as a result of our successful collaboration with RDM, MRG and Milton Keynes Council."

The autonomous pod Lutz Pathfinder does not need to have an active driver inside, but should always have an active remote control driver.

Four cities across the UK will begin trialling driverless cars, including Bristol, Coventry, Milton Keynes and Greenwich.

The electric vehicle produces zero emissions, has a six-hour range and a maximum speed of 15mph. It's half the length of a Smart Car and two-thirds the width.