Automotive

Public gets first taste of Lutz Pathfinder pod

Public gets first taste of Lut...
The Lutz Pathfinder has a maximum speed of 15 mph (24km/h)
The Lutz Pathfinder has a maximum speed of 15 mph (24km/h)
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The Lutz Pathfinder has a maximum speed of 15 mph (24km/h)
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The Lutz Pathfinder has a maximum speed of 15 mph (24km/h)
The Lutz Pathfinder was presented to the public in Milton Keynes, UK, on Tuesday September 15
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The Lutz Pathfinder was presented to the public in Milton Keynes, UK, on Tuesday September 15
The Lutz Pathfinder is to be trialed for use in pedestrianized areas
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The Lutz Pathfinder is to be trialed for use in pedestrianized areas
Members of the public will be able to book Lutz Pathfinder pods for last mile journeys around Milton Keynes, UK
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Members of the public will be able to book Lutz Pathfinder pods for last mile journeys around Milton Keynes, UK
Trained operators will be seated at the controls of the Lutz Pathfinder pods for the duration of the trial, so as to take control of them if necessary
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Trained operators will be seated at the controls of the Lutz Pathfinder pods for the duration of the trial, so as to take control of them if necessary

The electric-powered Lutz Pathfinder pod was presented to the public of Milton Keynes, UK, yesterday. The two-seater is due to be trialed as a means of ferrying members of the public around town, initially under driver control but eventually as a fully autonomous vehicle.

Launched in February by the UK's Transport Systems Catapult, the Lutz Pathfinder project is aimed at exploring the use of self-driving vehicles from a technological and societal point of view. A total of three pods will be rolled out as part of the trial, with users able to book them for last mile journeys via a mobile app.

The pods have been designed and built over the last 18 months. They will shortly be fitted with an autonomous control system, which will be installed by the University of Oxford's Mobile Robotics Group, before the start of the trial proper.

At first, the pods will be manually driven around the environment in which they will be deployed, so as to learn and map it. They will then begin autonomous operation as a means of public transportation, with a maximum speed of 15 mph (24 km/h). Trained operators will be seated at the controls of the pods for the duration of the trial, to take control if necessary.

Transport Systems Catapult says the findings of the Lutz Pathfinder project will inform the UK Autodrive program, which is set to trial a fleet of 40 self-driving pods, as well as road-based cars.

Source: Transport Systems Catapult

5 comments
Bob Flint
Oh wow what an advance bet I can pass this thing on my old ten speed, and not look like I'm trapped in a farm vehicle.. BTW why the blurred background, illusion of speed perhaps?
Ov42
I think it's kind of funny that they would have "Trained operators" for what is essentially a glorified autonomous golf cart. Still, I'm glad that somebody is at least trying out a system like this. Maybe these pods will grow into real taxi cabs someday.
Freyr Gunnar
What's the added value compared to a bicycle? It's faster, takes much less resources to build and run, and takes much less space to park.
Bruce H. Anderson
I assume the fairing on the wheels is to keep hems and cuffs from brushing against a dirty tire upon entry/exit. Certainly overwrought and of no aerodynamic benefit at 15mph. As long as it stays in a nicely paved courtyard it looks like a real winner.
Richard Gibson
"What's the added value compared to a bicycle?" I see these sorts of autonomous cars as being a replacement for taxis / Uber. Advantages over a bicycle: * Protected from the elements * Seats two * You're not a sweaty mess when you arrive at your destination and you don't have to get changed out of cycling gear * Although they take more space to park they can park themselves. So the car drops you at the front door and then disappears off to a parking garage nearby on its own. I don't see these completely replacing bicycles, but I'd be pretty worried if I was a cab driver right now.