Heathrow airport to launch fully automated pods

first_imgHeathrow will develop new iconic automated pods for public trials this summer in collaboration with Westfield Sportscars, and Oxbotica. The companies will develop pods using entirely British engineering and software capabilities. These will be capable of fully autonomous operation on London streets as part of the GATEway driverless car project in the Royal Borough of Greenwich.The companies will develop the existing ‘Ultra pods’ currently in service at Heathrow airport. Led by Westfield Sportcars, these pods will now be adapted to navigate the streets of Greenwich without the need for dedicated tracks.As the vehicle integrator and manufacturer of pods, Westfield will be responsible for the design and testing of the vehicles in accordance with the current type approval requirements. Heathrow Enterprises will look after vehicle software engineering while Oxbotica will be deploying its vertically integrated autonomy solution, which includes mapping, localisation, perception and trajectory planning, to enable the safe operation of fully driverless shuttles in Greenwich. It will also implement an innovative cloud-based shuttle management system, enabling the shuttles to operate as part of a synchronised, self-governing ecosystem, complete with smartphone booking applications, monitoring, and reporting.Steve Chambers, Director of Engineering and Asset Management at Heathrow said, “The GATEway Project is a fantastic opportunity to seize on the potential of our leading-edge ‘Ultra POD’ technology, which has already removed 70,000 bus journeys a year from Heathrow roads and the equivalent of 100 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.”The GATEway project (Greenwich Automated Transport Environment) is a €8 million project jointly funded by Innovate UK and industry. Led by TRL, which has over 50 years of experience in vehicle automation, the project will investigate public perception, reaction, and engagement with a range of different types of automated vehicles.last_img read more