Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Heathrow Pod - On demand transport.

Heathrow Airport has unveiled the Heathrow pod, the airport’s most innovative transport system. This system started life as a Bristol University project. I recall this project was often referenced in research by students in the ZeroCar upperpool studio at RMIT which David Flynn and I ran in conjunction with VEIL in 2009. It is brilliant to see concepts like this one developed and realised.

The Pods system was developed by UK company Ultra and BAA and consists of 21 low energy, battery powered, driverless, zero emission vehicles capable of carrying four passengers and their luggage along a dedicated 3.8km guide way. This system has much in common with the ZeroCar studio outcome by Charles Ng pictured below.

The pods will carry the 500,000 passengers travelling between the Terminal 5 Business Car Park and the main terminal each year, giving them a smooth and virtually silent five minute ride. The journey is on demand and non-stop from start to destination at the touch of a computer screen.

Each temperature-controlled Heathrow pod has been designed for privacy and comfort and allows passengers to select their own direct destination. 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.

Heathrow Pod interior.

Ladybug electric vehicle concept design by RMIT industrial design student Charles Ng.

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