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  • Heathrow Unveils Laser-Guided Transport Pods
Sep 2011
LONDON, Sept. 22, 2011 — Heathrow Airport now has 21 laser-guided pods to transport passengers and their luggage along a dedicated 3.8-km (2.4 mile) guide way to their destination.

(Images: Ultra PRT)

The systems are low-energy, battery-operated, zero-emission vehicles. Each pod is temperature-controlled, and passengers can select their own direct destination. A central computer ensures that pods are distributed at each station according to passenger demand. The pods recharge themselves at battery points while waiting for passengers.

The pod system, which initially was devised in 1995 as a Bristol University project, was developed by UK-based Ultra and the BAA, formerly the British Airport Authority. The Heathrow pod took six years to develop at a cost of £30 million (about $46 million).

It is estimated that the new system will cut the number of bus journeys around Heathrow by 50,000 per year, according to the BAA.

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