The United Kingdom has started drafting regulations governing how driverless cars should be tested and employed, marking a shift in the perception (which is increasingly one of acceptance) citizens in the region have about the technology. Meanwhile, the Lutz Pathfinder pod is already hitting the streets – or rather, the sidewalks.
The Lutz Pathfinder is a tiny, and dare I say, adorable looking vehicle. Only time will tell, however, if being “adorable” will be enough of a selling point. Check out this video of the Lutz Pathfinder to see the first UK driverless cars in action:
What’s so special about UK driverless cars?
Not so much. As with all autonomous vehicles, the Lutz Pathfinder will use high-definition cameras and sensors to help the car navigate and avoid obstacles. Those in need of a ride will be required to download the paired smartphone app in order to hail one of the pods, which will have limited range of mobility when they first hit the roads. Although it’s still far behind projects from Google, Tesla and the other car manufacturers we usually hear about, these moves are important first steps for the autonomous technology industry in the UK.
The Lutz Pathfinder itself is part of a greater initiative known as “Autodrive”, and is being used to increase the number of UK driverless cars. Chancellor George Osborne secured funding for the vehicles in 2014, and the Transport Systems Catapult – a center for intelligent mobility – currently leads the charge.
The Lutz Pathfinder line of vehicles will begin running alongside the streets of four different cities this spring. Should these trials be successful, at least 40 more pods will be introduced within city limits. It’s interesting to see them moving around on their own – even without passengers – and definitely lets us take a gander through a window to the future.
What do you think of these UK driverless cars? Are we ready to see similar vehicles in the US?