Driverless Taxis Deal for Heathrow Airport

A FUTURISTIC network of driverless taxis once under consideration for Cardiff is to be pioneered instead by Heathrow Airport.

The Ultra system, a series of pods which carry up to four people on a raised track, were first demonstrated in the Welsh capital nearly four years ago.

But the project was put on hold, and now the scheme is to be used by airports operator BAA. The pods will carry passengers from car parks to the terminal building at Heathrow.

Martin Lowson, the founder of Advanced Transport System, the company behind Ultra, said it was 'very satisfying' to sign the deal with BAA.

But there was disappointment in Cardiff that the city will not now be the showpiece for the technology.

Labour councillor Michael Michael said, 'The Ultra works, it's a simple system and it's 35-year-old technology. If we had been the first to do it, the manufacturing jobs would have come to the Cardiff area. I think the current administration have been dragging their feet on this.'

Possible routes for the scheme considered by the council included a line from Queen Street along Bute Street to Cardiff Bay.

In a statement last night the council said, 'Cardiff Council is pleased that BAA are bringing the Ultra system to Heathrow Airport, particularly as the Associated British Port site in Cardiff Bay was chosen as the development site by Advanced Transport Systems Limited. It is great news - especially for Cardiff - to now have such a prestigious project proposed for one of the world's busiest airports.'

The council was neither introducing the system nor ruling it out as part of its transport strategy, the statement said.



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