It's happening, folks. The self-driving vehicle phenomenon is finally jumping from the test track onto public roads. And the revolution isn't just happening in the United States—it's happening in the UK, too.
Milton-Keynes, just north of London, will soon deploy 100 driverless pods to replace its noisy, pollution-blasting bus system. The pods can carry two people plus cargo at a neck-breaking speed of 12mph. The battery-powered vehicles will run on their own separate lanes in pedestrianised areas of the city, but are expected to eventually join pedestrians on pavements. The pods are said to be similar to the ULTra PRT driverless transport pods used at Heathrow airport, like those in the picture above but smaller and running without a guiding track.
The UK is ahead of the curve on this one, but not by much. Nissan says it'll start selling a self-driving car by 2020, and companies like Volvo and Mercedes aren't far behind. But will they look like a family-friendly amusement park ride crossed with a Stormtrooper? Highly doubtful. [PhysOrg]
Image via Ultra Global PRT
Post updated on 06/11/13