In the United Kingdom, driverless cars are now deemed safe enough to be tested on roadways, paving the way for new vehicles, like the Lutz Pathfinder pod. The electric pod car can seat two people, go 15 miles per hour and travel up to 40 miles on one charge. The Lutz’s Union Jack decals and downright adorable design mean heads will turn as it totters by.
Getting up to 6 hours on a single charge, the Lutz won’t win any speed records, but it is a great option for commuters, shoppers and those who need a lift to close-by places. According to the RDM Group, the Lutz has twin cameras and LIDAR sensors in both the front and back of the vehicle. Two cameras on both sides give the vehicle a 360 degree view of its surroundings.
It took just 10 months to complete the first prototype. Three more pods are expected for trial by June. “We are thrilled to be part of such a groundbreaking project that has the potential to prove that driverless vehicles can be used safely and effectively on our pavements and roads,” explained David Keene, chief executive officer at RDM Group.
“It has been challenging and involved pretty much every member of staff at one time or another. However, pushing the boundaries of innovation is what we do best and hopefully Lutz puts us in an ideal position to win other autonomous vehicle work that could lead to new jobs and even greater expansion.”
The Transport Systems Catapult is the project lead for the LUTZ Pathfinder program and also a partner in the £20 million twin-city UK Autodrive project announced by the Chancellor in the 2014 Autumn Statement. UK Autodrive will build on the success of the initial program, with the design, performance and learning from early tests used to scale this up to create a full city demonstrator that will eventually see public trials—involving 40 driverless pods—in Coventry and Milton Keynes.
Steve Yianni, chief executive of the Transport Systems Catapult, said, “Technology such as driverless vehicles, intelligent phone apps, and social media, will transform how we travel in the future—making journeys faster, easier, and more connected.”
Images via RDM Group