After the "Low-carbon Urban Transport Zone" (LUTZ) Pathfinder was introduced to the public in September 2015, the first public tests with the self-driving pods were spotted around Milton Keynes in Britain.
According to Oxbotica, the Transport Systems Catapult (TSC) in Milton Keynes has successfully tested its self-driving vehicles in public for the first time in the UK. The demonstration of a UK developed autonomous driving system marked the conclusion of the LUTZ Pathfinder Project, which has been developing the technology for the past 18 months. It took place on pavements around Milton Keynes train station and business district with three automated pods, assessing their feasibility from both a technological and societal point of view.
The electric-powered two-seater LUTZ Pathfinders are comfy little pods with a top speed of 24 km/h (15 mph). They were created for the people to use them on the so-called 'last mile of the journey', for example when you need to travel from a train or a bus station to the shopping centre. Vehicles are run by the autonomy software, called Selenium (developed by Mobile Robotics Group from Oxford University and integrated by Oxbotica onto an electric vehicle), gathering and using data from cameras, sensors and LIDAR systems. With this information, the pods then navigate their way around urban areas as a perfect solution for your personal local transportation. Despite being fully autonomous, the pods are operated by a human driver, so if needed, that person can take over control of the vehicle anytime.
Neil Fulton, Programme Director at the TSC explained: "This public demonstration represents a major milestone for autonomous vehicles in the UK and the culmination of an extensive project involving UK companies and experts. Oxford University's technology will go on to power automated vehicles around the world and the LUTZ Pathfinder project will now feed into a much wider programme of autonomous trials across the UK. Driverless vehicles are coming to Britain and what we have demonstrated today is a huge step on that journey."