West Midlands based firm Westfield Technology, best known for its niche sports cars, is trialling an autonomous vehicle in the Lake District in what it’s claiming is a huge breakthrough for driverless travel.
The pod, designed and built in the UK, is currently running at Brockhole Visitor Centre, near Windermere and doesn’t feature a safety steward on board.
The pod is running on Westfield’s latest sensor payload and software to detect road conditions and obstacles in the road, and doesn’t require a driver or steering wheel either.
According to Westfield CEO Julian Turner trial represents a breakthrough in self-driving travel, with one-in-10 vehicles predicted to be autonomous by 2030.
“It is working beautifully,” he said. “We had the system thoroughly tested by independent parties Nexor (Cyber security), Loughborough and AECOM for its technical operation, Burgess Salmon for the legal framework and Axa for the insurance and the results told us that this would be a successful trial of the technology in the beautiful environment of the Lake District National Park. Feedback from thousands of visitors has been extremely positive too, which makes us all really proud.”
Westfield also provides a virtual tour during travel in the POD as well as providing information on local events. The vehicle has also been equipped with the latest voice recognition technology to allow the visually impaired to feel more confident in the technology.
With the Lake District attracting over 19 million visitors per year, there are serious congestion issues with air quality decreasing and huge transport connectivity issues in the area. It is hoped the POD could be an answer to provide emissions-free transport for everyone.