The UK continues to lead the way when it comes to autonomous vehicles and mainly their safe testing in areas where they could sooner rather than later be used. It was announce today that Bristol Airport has begun testing autonomous pods on its many airport routes which are also shared with buses, cars and pedestrians.
The transport industry is currently undergoing a major change in the way it “thinks” and is delivered, with drivers expecting a highly personalised on-demand service that is integrated across different transport modes. This is the primary reason why Pods started to be developed in order to serve these needs, supporting the end-to-end movement of people between city and campus environments including railway and bus stations, universities, airports and hospitals.
Capri, is the first UK project to trial pods on public roads of its kind and at a recent showcase of their pods at Bristol airport, an exciting new program was announced. It will go several steps further in testing than past pod trials, by demonstrating a fully integrated and interactive autonomous pod service that will allow members of the public to hail a pod via an app, choose their end destination, pay and have access to relevant information and customer support.
The Capri project has officially now secured over £4m in funding to run the pilot scheme as part of its overall aim to develop the technology and is expected to run along routes about 1,800ft (548m) long between the car park and terminal on the airport site.
The Capri pods – which is crucial to mention are electronically powered and created by Bristol firm, Advanced Transport Systems & Westfield Technology – will help the airport reduce its carbon emissions on the ground as well as increase its delivery times and productivity in key areas.
Dr Julian Turner, chief executive of Westfield Technology which makes the pods, said: “The design came out of the local area so it’s great to bring it back again.
“The vehicle will navigate, slow down if someone walks in front of it and take you to your destination.”
George Lunt, Technical Director, AECOM, said: “Connected and autonomous vehicles are predicted to make a huge impact on society, but require significant research and development to support their future commercial use. With a wide range of potential markets for on-demand mobility services, our project has clear economic benefits that will inform the business cases for these types of schemes. Our work with Bristol Airport is an important stage of the project as we look in detail at the underlying operating models required to deliver a viable service.”
The Capri consortium consists of a team of experts including global enterprises with established multidisciplinary expertise, academic institutions at the cutting-edge of automotive research, and SMEs developing exciting new technology solutions. A large number of consortium partners are based in the West of England, putting the region at the forefront of this rapidly developing sector.
Feel free to click here and read the full announcement by Bristol airport itself and how they envisage their partnership with Capri working in the near future.
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