U.K. city launches driverless pod project

RDM Group

 (RDM Group)

Driverless “cars” will soon be cruising through British cities soon as the U.K. begins trials of a new autonomous vehicle.

The electric, two-seat LUTZ Pathfinder will be shuttling passengers through the pedestrian zones of Milton Keynes starting this spring at speeds of up to 15 mph.

The 6.5-foot-long pods, which their creator calls a true successor to the original Mini, are fitted with a collection of 19 sensors, including cameras, lasers, and radars that help it navigate, and spot and avoid pedestrians and other obstacles.

In the event that something does go wrong, the body panels are made from a flexible material to absorb much of the impact.

The manufacturer, RDM Group, plans to launch the government-run project with three vehicles, and has another 40 under construction that will be added to Milton Keynes and a second location in the city of Coventry later this year.

The price for this hors d'oeuvres of our automotive future? About $58,000 a pop, according to The Engineer.