London's Heathrow Introduces Laser-guided Airport Shuttle
Decades in the making, but on track at last for this British invention -- a driverless, battery-powered, laser-guided pod.
These podcars shuttle passengers from a short stay car park to terminal 5 at London's Heathrow airport.
Half a century ago a network like this was just an engineers dream. Now, for the first time, it's a reality.
[Air Passenger from Sweden]:
"It's a bit like a ski lift, those 'egg lifts, but much more modern. I think they're brilliant. Very good."
[Clive Burnet, Air Passenger & Tech. Manager]:
"No waiting around for buses like you normally have to do at Heathrow. Very efficient and clean."
Engineers are hoping that is the secret of the podcar.
Heathrow says it will save 50,000 shuttle bus journeys every year, cutting those carbon emissions to zero and waiting times to an average of 30 seconds.
There are no timetables and no waiting, as a central computer ensures that pods are distributed at each station according to passenger demand.
When waiting for a passenger, the pods recharge themselves at battery points, so are always ready to go.
Fraser Brown is the managing director of podcar maker ULTRA PRT.
[Fraser Brown, Managing Director, Ultra PRT]:
"So the difference with PRT, the 'P' is personal and the 'R' being rapid, is that you get a personal experience of maybe 4 or 5 people in a vehicle and you get to go point to point, you get to go where you want to go rather than where the bus or the train takes you."
Heathrow's futuristic pods may look like they're straight out of a science fiction film, but their developers are hoping they're the very real future of crowded city transport around the world.