Milton Keynes, a city so futuristic it was used as a filming location for Superman IV, has been selected for a trial of 100 driverless pods in 2015.
Devised by the Automotive Council UK, working with Cambridge University and ATRA member Arup, the scheme is being backed by the business department. Minister for Higher Education David Willetts heralds the project as the start of a “science fiction future”.
The pods, hailed by a smartphone app, are predicted to have the capacity to carry up to four people – with luggage – and will travel up to 12 miles per hour using sensors to to avoid pedestrians and other obstacles. The trial will see the pods carry passengers along a mile long route between the main train station and the central shopping centre at a cost around £2 per journey. Milton Keynes was picked because of it’s unusually wide pavements and pedestrian underuse of the route.
Business secretary Vince Cable: “Driverless cars have the potential to generate the kind of high-skilled jobs we want Britain to be famous for, as well as cutting congestion and pollution and improving road safety.”