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  Official magazine of ACI
Monday, 30 July 2012 15:55

Heathrow’s pod system 'could be extended'

Written by  Steven Thompson
Heathrow's quirky pod transport system could be expanded Heathrow's quirky pod transport system could be expanded
Plans are in place to extend Heathrow’s unique pod transport system to the airport’s central terminal area.

Plans are in place to extend Heathrow’s unique pod transport system to the airport’s central terminal area.

The expansion is yet to be given the go-ahead by airport operator, BAA, but Ultra PRT, which developed and runs the personal rapid transport system, has completed a feasibility study to connect the north side passenger and staff car parks to Terminals 1, 2 and 3.

Proposals are also in place to extend tracks to car rental facilities within Heathrow.

The system, which uses electric driverless pod cars, to transport passengers between Heathrow’s mid-stay business car park and Terminal 5, has been in operation at the airport for just over 12 months.

Travelling at 25 miles per hour, the vehicles run on four standard car batteries.



The pods use a laser system to steer passengers along lightweight, raised pathways between the airport and the car park.

Ultra’s managing director, Fraser Brown, said: “It is phenomenally reliable and there is essentially zero wait time.

“We only use as much technology as we need. The navigation system is state of the art, but the car itself is made using off-the-shelf parts and materials. It is relatively low-tech which makes it cheaper.”

If the system is extended, it will mean passengers will also be able to travel between terminals, as well as to the different car parks.

Brown said there was also the possibility that the tracks could be extended to the nearby town of Staines, which is a large employee base for the airport.

Written by @SteveThompsonAM 

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