The first autonomous vehicle to run on UK public footpaths, the LUTZ Pathfinder pods, has been officially unveiled by the Transport Systems Catapult at a British government launch event in Greenwich, London.
The electric-powered vehicles can seat two people and are designed to work on pavements and pedestrianized areas. They are being built by RDM Group, one of the UK’s fastest growing advanced engineering companies, and will be equipped with sensor and navigation technology provided by the University of Oxford’s Mobile Robotics Group.
“Technology such as driverless vehicles, intelligent phone apps, and social media, will transform how we travel in the future – making journeys safer, faster, and more connected,” said Transport Systems Catapult CEO Steve Yianni. “Through the LUTZ Pathfinder programme, the Transport Systems Catapult has pioneered the introduction of driverless pods in Milton Keynes and the first ever tests in the UK will take place later this year in a controlled public environment. The UK is at the forefront of this emerging new technology and poised to become the leading supplier of autonomous vehicles and systems around the world.”
“Safety is a key benefit of driverless technology, which is particularly relevant given the global trends of an increasing and ageing population.”
Later this year, the pods will be tested in an “urban laboratory” using a route agreed with project partners Milton Keynes Council. This will be the first time driverless vehicles have been used in an urban community setting, and they will be gradually introduced following a series of tests in a safe, controlled, environment.
all images courtesy of TRANSPORT SYSTEMS CATAPULT