Driverless pods to ease parking and travel woes in MK

Milton Keynes borough councillor John Bint
Milton Keynes borough councillor John Bint

Driverless cars are set to appear on the roads of Milton Keynes as part of a trial beginning in 2015.

The project which will cost £65 million involves pods which move along pavements rather than on roads and can carry two passengers each plus baggage.

A one-mile route between the train station and shopping centre will carry passengers along at 12mph – four times faster than the average walking pace and will cost just £2 for the short trip.

The initial 100 models are expected to include joysticks or steering wheels as the technology is only being tested at this stage.

If the trial is successful, residents will be able to start using the pods from 2017 and will be able to hail one by using an application on their phone or by pre-booking.million .

It is anticapated the pods will generate £1 million revenue in the first year.

John Bint, Milton Keynes Council’s cabinet member for transport and highways, believes that the project is important for the city as it will ease parking and pollution worries for commuters and residents.

He said: “It’s a great initiative and we are being as supportive as we can be at the moment to overcome a number of regulating hurdles.

“That is mainly the fact that it’s not a car, it’s not a taxi so we need to work out how it’s going to be permitted.

“It will continue to boost the reputation as a centre for innovation and it will contribute to local transport needs by completing the jigsaw of our transport system.

“At the moment we have a great service for long distance travel to MK, but when you get here we need a localised system that can get you from the train station or home to an office or shop without the pollution or parking issues that come with cars and taxis.”