Heathrow T5 Pods: Driverless, Fast, Eco-Friendly

  • 12 May, 2014
  • Jurga Sefton
  • No Comments

pods
Photo: Matt Taylor

Two and a half years ago, in autumn 2011, an automatic pod transport system was revealed at Heathrow Terminal 5, designed by Ultra Global and allowing 800 passengers a day to travel stress-free between the T5 Business Car Park and the terminal. We say stress-free, how about adrenaline-filled and state-of-the-art-amazing?!

The award-winning £30m system took 6 years to develop and a year to trial prior to its launch and boasts driverless vehicles with self-recharging batteries, and enough space (and power!) to transport up to 4 passengers in each pod.

podst5

Photo: Uli

The pods find their way around using laser sensors, and initially it was estimated it would have cut the amount of bus journeys around Heathrow terminal by 50,000 a year.

Two and a half year later, it is reported that the pod system has had over 700,000 passengers on board, and a year ago it marked its 1 millionth driven mile.

What’s in the ride?

The system has 21 pods, a total length of 3.8 km one one-way guideway, and 3 stations – two of them at the T5 Business Car Park and one at the T5 terminal itself.

– Smooth, virtually silent 5 minute ride.
– The pods can reach the speed of up to 25 miles per hour.
– No stopping from start to destination.
– The journey is on demand, you don’t need to jump on an approaching pod!
– The pods are there at your service for 22 hours weekdays, for 21 hours on Saturdays and 20 hours on Sundays.
– No timetables. No waiting. Self-recharging batteries ensure the pods are always ready to go.
– Computer-powered equal distribution of pods throughout the system based on demand.
– Journey time between the same two locations is approximately 10 minutes shorter compared to the original bus shuttle.
– The pods use 70% less energy than it would take to power a car.

The passengers seem to be loving the innovative driverless transfer service. Social media is inundated with photos, selfies, videos and general ‘wow!’ feedback, such as:

Intrigued? You can give the T5 Pod a go by booking your car parking at Heathrow Business Car Park. We’d like to hear what you think!

About Jurga Sefton

I love finding bargains online, whether it's fashion, kids products or travel deals. Also into blogging, SEO, digital marketing and all things Lithuania-related!

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