Self-Driving Electric Pod Cars Available in UK by 2015
If you thought driverless vehicles were a thing of science fiction, think again. Big brands like Google, Tesla and even Mercedes-Benz are promising a world filled with driverless cars sometime in the near future. But not soon enough, if you ask the British town of Milton Keynes, which says autonomous pods are coming to the UK fully in 2017 (if not sooner). These 'pods,' — as they're so gracefully called — will be able to carry two passengers, shopping bags, luggage, etc., and travel up to a blistering 12 mph in the city. Running between the city's central train station, shopping center and office parks, the vehicles will begin moving visitors in 2015.
Each of the pods will be fully electric and utilize four electric motors mounted above each wheel, riding on a track similar to the system used at London's Heathrow airport (pictured here). Charging will be dealt with via an inductive system along the route.
Cost per trip will be somewhere in the market of £2, and passengers will be able to summon each ride via an app on their smartphone. According to the Daily Mail, this is just one small step in a £65 million infrastructure investment plan, and should slingshot the town of Milton Keynes into the future.
Initial rollouts of the project will begin in 2015, but the town says that early tests will be the responsibility of the passengers and will not be fully automated. If everything goes as planned, these autonomous pods should be in full operation by 2017.
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