London: Heathrow Airport uses driverless pods Passengers at Heathrow's Terminal 5 can now hop driverless pods to zoom to a parking lot along trackways. If successful, the tiny pods may replace shuttle buses. Budget Travel Tuesday, Sep 20, 2011, 8:38 AM Budget Travel LLC, 2016

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sep 20 2011

London: Heathrow Airport uses driverless pods

Passengers at Heathrow Airport's Terminal 5 can now hop tiny pods to zoom to a parking lot.

The tiny pods run on automatic pilot, gliding along fixed trackways. They're quicker than shuttle buses, with an average wait time of half-a-minute, reports Reuters. Because the trackways are free of other vehicle traffic, they can reach speeds of up to 25 mph. The pods are battery-powered, so they don't spew out exhaust.

Currently, 18 pods are available to board, and many fit up to four passengers. To use one, punch in your destination, such as "parking lot," on a touch screen. Then leave the driving to the machine.

American passengers traveling to London often fly into Terminal 5, especially on British Airways flights. But not many American visitors need to go to the parking terminal, so you may not notice the pods anytime soon. But the airport says it plans to add the pods to other areas of the airport in upcoming years. It is the world's first airport to use the technology, called ULTra PRT.

See a video of a pod in action, below.


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