Self driving vehicles are set for testing in a number of cities in the UK, with the first tests of their kind going on in Milton Keynes, London, Coventry and Bristol. recently we’ve seen pictures of one of the vehicles that will be being tested, the Lutz pod. additionally some of the onboard hardware on the vehicle has been detailed.
From our first impression of the Lutz pod, it’s clear that the design is very different from traditional cars – in fact it’s nothing like a conventional vehicle. But let’s be fair, the lines of the pod are very cool, it looks like some kind of space fighter from a science fiction series.
Futuristic tech on board the pod includes an array of sensors and cameras that will let the vehicle navigate its way around. LIDAR sensors are used in the Lutz pod. Twin LIDAR sensors and cameras are on the front of the pod, whilst a single LIDAR and a pair of cameras are on the back.
The LIDAR term is an amalgamation of light and radar, which relates to the way the sensors use lasers to detect the depth of objects ahead of the sensor by illuminating surfaces and recording the light reflected back.
The Lutz pod doesn’t travel at breakneck speeds, which should alleviate some concerns around driverless vehicles from some. The tiny vehicles uses its small wheels to nip around at around 15mph. To put that into perspective, a horse could easily outpace the pod without even having to go at full speed.
The prototype Lutz pod was shown off by creators Transport Systems London and the RDM Group in London recently, where it was revealed that production models of the pod would be constructed by June this year. The pods will then head to Milton Keynes for testing, where they’ll be the first of the driverless vehicles being tested to hit roads in the UK.
New laws will also be needed to be created and put to the test before the vehicles can officially hit roads outside of testing initiatives. The government is working on a new code of practice for testing the vehicles, and also the Department Of Transport are expected to amend domestic road laws by 2017 in anticipation of a roll out of a whole host of drone projects.
Whilst other projects are in the works featuring additional vehicles being trialed in other areas, so it’s very likely that we’ll see new pictures of some other cool cars, pods and drone vehicles for road use in the coming months.