Driverless pods: Milton Keynes on the world stage

Driverless pod.
Driverless pod.

Milton Keynes was on the world-stage at a major festival in Shanghai when driverless vehicle technology attracted widespread interest.

The Transport Systems Catapult, the UK’s innovation centre for Intelligent Mobility, based in MK was at The Great Festival of Creativity last week.

It showcased a 3D-printed model of the LUTZ Pathfinder driverless pods and a video animation of the pods in action.

Councillor Pete Marland, Leader of Milton Keynes Council, said: “I am not surprised to learn that a project pioneered in Milton Keynes is being globally recognised in places like China.

“The driverless pods are just one aspect of Milton Keynes’ exciting smart city agenda which is not only raising Milton Keynes’ profile as a great place for innovation, but also the global profile of the UK’s capability to innovate as a whole.”

The driverless pod technology on show became a major talking point over the festival’s three-day period, featuring on three national TV channels and attracting widespread interest from politicians, business leaders, and celebrity guests.

The ‘LUTZ Pathfinder’ pod; the first autonomous vehicle in the UK to work on public footpaths, was officially unveiled at a Government launch event in Greenwich, London on February 11.

The electric-powered vehicles can seat two people and are designed to work on pavements and pedestrianised areas. Three pods will be tested later this year in Milton Keynes ahead of the larger UK Autodrive driverless vehicles project of which Milton Keynes Council is also a key partner, where a fleet of 40 pods will be in operation on the city’s pavements by the end of 2017.

The Great Festival of Creativity is a dynamic celebration of creativity in business, and the start of a new dialogue between global enterprises. It attracted over 500 companies and 3000 delegates interested in seeing the very best of British creativity – from fashion and luxury goods to technology and innovation.