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09:02, August 14, 2009

Taxi of tomorrow: The space-age pods with no driver, no fumes

The British-designed personal rapid transport (PRT) system is a four-passenger vehicle which is being rolled out next year at Heathrow Terminal 5 (CCTV.com Photo)

A driverless taxi has been unveiled which could make traffic jams, petrol fumes and crowded buses a thing of the past.

The futuristic pod has no driver, and no opinionated chatter to accompany your journey, but instead a button set in the wall with the word 'start' written beside it.

The four-seater cab was unveiled at the Science Museum in London yesterday and will be in use from next year taking passengers between car parks and Terminal 5.

The man behind the mission, Professor Martin Lowson, who has a background in space travel and worked on the Saturn V Rocket, said: 'They could have the same effect on transport this century as the rocket had on the 19th.'

The bubble-shaped taxis are battery-powered and passengers select their destination from a touch screen.

They can reach speeds of up to 25mph and would travel along their own narrow road system.

Once the destination has been chosen, the control system logs the request and sends a message to the vehicle, which then follows an electronic pathway.

During the journey, a passenger can press a button to speak to the controller if necessary.

Prof Lowson has been working on the taxis with Bristol-based Advanced Transport Systems since 1995.

Source: CCTV online
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