The Lake District National Park is exploring the role new technologies could play in improving sustainable travel, starting with state-of-the-art driverless electric pods.
The pods, which can reach 20mph, are completely self-driving, meaning no driver or steering wheel is required. Instead, they use cutting-edge technology, including sensors to detect road conditions and obstacles, to transport people in a safe and environmentally-friendly way.
They were developed by Westfield Technology Group as a solution to so-called ‘first mile - last mile’ transportation, where passengers are taken to and from central hubs, and are already in use at Heathrow Airport.
The Lake District is the first National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site to explore the technology and is currently conducting a feasibility study.
“We’re constantly looking at new ways to balance the needs and enjoyment of people as they visit and move around the Lake District, whilst being mindful of the impact on the environment”, said Richard Leafe, chief executive of the Lake District National Park.
“Driverless pods are a really interesting concept and while this is not necessarily something that will be seen on the Lake District streets soon, it’s vital we explore a range of solutions to sustainable travel.”
A public demonstration of a pod took place at Brockhole on Windermere on 27 and 28 April, with the feasibility study set to continue until June.