Heathrow Pod

Heathrow Airport is testing out a personal rapid transit system (PRT) at terminal 5 that they hope to expand to the rest of the airport.  The 25 million pound project has created a series of driverless pods that follow guided paths with lasers and are powered by battery packs.  The pods can go 25mph.  Up to five passengers can pick the pod up at a series of taxi stand-like terminals and one inside push a button for their destination and the pod will automatically take them there.

The advantages to the system are many for a place like Heathrow.

  • Keeping down congestion and noise near the terminal
  • Greater environmental efficiency than cars.
  • Cutting down on waiting time for passengers as opposed to mass transit systems on a schedule
  • Noise reduction
  • Allowing for individualized destination points

This is not a system that is ideal for cities, but it is great for an area where many people are trying to get around to a set number of places Heathrow Pod 2within a locale, like an airport, theme park, large shopping complex or perhaps historic sites.  I hope to have the opportunity to go to London some time to check this system out.  I’m curious to see it work and to see how much they charge passengers for a ride.