Driverless Pods to Ferry Shoppers Around in Bristol's Cribbs Causeway Mall in Week-Long Trial

By Shabana Arif on at

The future is now - well, just until the end of the week anyway, but still. And you can be a part of it if you head to The Mall at Bristol's Cribb's Causeway.

The CAPRI Consortium is bringing its driverless pods to the shopping centre this week, which started running yesterday and will keep on keepin' on until this Sunday, January 26. It seems that the event will be a sounding board of sorts to get a feel for public opinion on sharing their streets with these connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs).

Two pods will be kicking about for the trial; one will be smack dab in the middle of the shopping centre so that everyone can ooh and aah over it, and learn more about it if they like. Although I think CAPRI is somewhat overestimating the public's interest in mall installations. Obviously that one won't be running, unless some weird Robocop-esque malfunction happens and it ends up barrelling into everyone on site.

The second pod is doing the donkey work but running between one end of the car park to the pedestrian area outside of the mall. It'll be running between 10am and 4.30pm most days, with a few late starts and evenings chucked in for good measure, but you can check out the timetable on the website.

Apparently the site was chosen because of the massive amount of foot traffic (up to 10,000 people per day) so what better place to trial a driverless pod that will navigate its way through "pedestrians, push-chairs, mobility scooters, bikes and animals." Although CAPRI is ensuring that nothing goes awry with safety marshalls, that are the poor bastards designated to follow the pods as they go back and forth, and "advise shoppers how best to interact around the vehicles." Which I assume means telling people to back the fuck off if they get too close or fail to move out of the way. So head on down there if you want a go. [CAPRI via Engadget]