Driverless transport

A new form of electrically-powered driverless travel is to be tested at Heathrow Airport by BAA.

A new form of electrically-powered driverless travel – the ULTra (Urban Light Transport) Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system – is to be tested at HeathrowAirport by BAA.

Advanced Transport Systems (ATS), a University of Bristol spinout company, has secured £7.5 million in investment from BAA to fund the pilot study.

An ULTra vehicle network has the same capacity as a motorway lane (1800 vehicles/hour), yet uses a quarter of the land and costs a tenth to produce.

And, while conventional forms of public transit require passengers to collect in groups until a large vehicle, scheduled to travel on predetermined routes, arrives, 95% of ULTra passengers will have a waiting time of less than 1 minute, even at peak times.

The network system also has the same capacity as a motorway lane (1800 vehicles/hour), yet uses a quarter of the land and costs a tenth to produce.

Professor Martin Lowson, Chief Executive of ATS, said: “This investment will allow us to complete the final production and commercialisation phases of the project.”