8 FEBRUARY 2016
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Heathrow Airport Ltd is working in collaboration with Westfield Sportscars, and Oxbotica, to develop new iconic electric automated pods for public trials this summer.
Using entirely British engineering and software capabilities, the three companies are further developing the units that at Heathrow T5 have carried more than 1.5m passengers between the business car park and the terminal eliminating the need for 700,000 bus journeys and their associated emissions on local roads to the airport.
Led by Westfield, the long-established specialist sportscar manufacturer, the pods are being adapted to navigate the streets of Greenwich without the need for dedicated tracks.
Oxbotica, a spin-off from Oxford University’s internationally acclaimed Mobile Robotics Group, 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.
Heathrow says that if the trials prove successful it is expected that the pods will become a familiar sight in many cities around the world. www.gateway-project.org.uk
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