Heathrow Unveils Creepy Driverless Taxi System

Heathrow PRT vehicles

Last week we looked at the SkyTran personal magnetic transporter system. But while SkyTran is still just a concept, London's Heathrow Airport is pushing ahead with driver-less personal transport pods.

The four-passenger personal rapid transport (PRT) vehicles, unveiled this week at the Science Museum in London, take airport-goers on a special narrow road from Heathrow's Terminal 5 to various parking lots. Passengers use a touch screen to type in their destination, press a start button, and the battery-powered vehicle zips along at 25 mph to their destination. There's a reason the pods look so futuristic--they were designed by Mark Lowson, who worked on the Saturn Rocket that launched Apollo missions.

Heathrow PRT vehicles

Only 18 PRT vehicles will be used in the initial $41 million Heathrow run, but if all goes well, BAA will invest an additional $330 million to expand the system hotels surrounding airport terminals. Eventually, it could provide an alternative to city-bound buses and trains. It's a nice idea, but it will run into the same problem as SkyTran's proposed system--cost. BAA may be willing to shell out cash for a Heathrow system, but it's doubtful that city governments will pay for the pods and new road networks for them to travel on.

[Via UK Mirror]

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10 Comments

  • london taxi

    This looks amazing!  I'd definitely want to use this and it would increase the safety on our roads i it did come to city's

  • kirtinag

    Cost effective licensed private hire taxi service based 10 minutes from Heathrow offering private and business clients an efficient service.
     

  • Melissa Digitalis

    I think this looks amazing! I can't wait to check it out! Lets hope they spread and they can be used around the city! We really would be living the futuristic dream! What would your visions for the future be? Post them on The Tomorrow Mural http://tiny.cc/RVvuX

  • Melissa Digitalis

    I think this looks amazing! I can't wait to check it out! Lets hope they spread and they can be used around the city! We really would be living the futuristic dream! What would your visions for the future be? http://tiny.cc/RVvuX

  • Ivan Ermanoski

    Haha... We should be demanding drivers in "creepy driverless elevators". 90% of car crashes are due to driver errors. Driverless PRT is going to be a huge leap forward in safety.

  • Sheena Medina

    I don't really see this as that "creepy" but I understand that you want people to take an interest and click on the article. I would say it's more awesome or futuristic or user friendly...any one of those words could be inserted into the headline. I hope this paves the way for something similar in the US soon!