Secretary of State for Transport coming to see MK’s driverless pod cars

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The city’s driverless pod scheme is set to receive a windfall from a £100 million government fund.

Tomorrow the Secretary of State for Transport, The Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP, will be making a visit to the Transport Systems Catapult to see the pods for himself.

The government recently announced a £100 million fund for driverless vehicle projects around the UK, with activities in Milton Keynes featured.

The LUTZ Pathfinder The LUTZ Pathfinder self-driving vehicles trial is being overseen by Milton Keynes-based Transport Systems Catapult.

It will feature up to three electric-powered pods operating on pedestrianised areas within the city centre.

Capable of speeds up to 15mph, they will initially be driven in manual mode by a trained operator while they gather data which will allow them to travel using their autonomous systems later in the trial.

All the vehicles have had full safety assessments at MIRA testing facilities and will work under the supervision of marshalls throughout the trial.

The pods are covered by an “experimental order” granted by Milton Keynes Council to allow them to be testing in shared pedestrian spaces.

Designed and manufactured by Coventry-based automotive innovation experts RDM, the LUTZ pods are equipped with the fully autonomous “Mercury” sensor, navigation and control system developed by the University of Oxford’s world-leading Mobile Robotics Group.