Grab a pod: driverless taxis set to roll in Milton Keynes
The first public taxi service using self-driving vehicles is to launch in a British city centre next summer.
Passengers will be able to call up the low-speed “pod” vehicles to take them to a choice of eight destinations. The fleet of 40 four-seat vehicles will ride on the broad pavements of Milton Keynes, which is built on a grid network.
Although the pods are capable of 15mph, they will be restricted to half that speed, or a brisk jogging pace. The trial is due to start in July and last four months. A typical journey would take staff from Santander’s head office to the shopping centre.
UK Autodrive, a consortium including Ford, Jaguar Land Rover, Tata Motors and RDM Group, maker of the pods, said it will be the first time members of the public are able to call up self-driving vehicles on demand and choose a destination. Other autonomous vehicles travel along pre-determined routes between two points.
The group is also working on plans for self-drive Jaguar and Tata cars to take passengers from the nearby M1 and to synchronise a rendezvous in a Milton Keynes car park where they will be transferred to a pod arriving at the same time.