Gatwick Airport might end up being one of the first places when you can be both intrigued and nervous beyond belief while a computer drives a motorised vehicle by itself in public, as the transport hub is to test autonomous passenger connection buses this year.
The less exciting small print says that the trial will focus on airport workers initially, with the first self-driving shuttle buses given the job of ferrying staff between the north and south terminals before being allowed to shuttle grumpy families past the expensive sandwiches. It will be cheaper, they say. It will be more efficient, they say.
It will, if successful and zero rogue AIs steer buses onto runways, eventually be used on passenger-side transport, they also say, with the potential for shutting humans and their stupid bags around the place, or the system perhaps being trusted to tug planes away from their terminal spaces.
Gatwick's information officer Cathal Corcoran said: "...ultimately this could be the start of widespread use of autonomous vehicles on airfields across the world. The new technology is a more efficient way to manage vehicles and could lead to a reduction in the number of vehicles required, their associated costs and harmful emissions." [The Times]