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Heathrow’s ULTra Personal Rapid Transit System — really cool

Screen Shot 2011 09 19 at 22 43 56
Photo from Pocket-Lint.co.uk

My vision of a connected mobile environment is edging somewhat closer to reality with the arrival of London Heathrow Airport’s ULTra Personal Rapid Transit System.

Stuart Miles, top chap at Pocket Lint, took a ride on the system and really enjoyed it. He’s got the full details on his post — but to summarise, the system consists of 21 driverless pods that continually drive back and forward from the Terminal 5 business car park, ensuring that the journey time will never be longer than 5 minutes. Previously, when a human was driving the buses, the journey time was 10 minutes. You also had to wait 10 minutes for the bus.

I’ve had worse experiences. I’m sure you have too. Now, with these automated pods, you’ll never wait longer than 34 seconds.

Love. It.

What interests me is how this can be connected into a mobile service. Since you’ve got predictability, you can, I imagine, now consider integrating these units into some kind of broadcast service that my device(s) could pick-up and utilise.

For example, it would be nice to arrive, park the car, then walk to one of these pod ‘stops’ whilst glancing at my British Airways app. I’d like the BA app to have registered that I am in the airport vicinity and to update the company as to my location. I’d also like the app to tell me that there’s a pod coming along in 20 seconds and that my anticipated arrival time at T5 is 5 minutes 22 seconds.

Perhaps that’s overkill.

Speaking of overkill, do check out Stuart’s post — particularly the photo that reads: ‘Danger Automatic Vehicles Can Kill’.

It won’t be long before Skynet is running everything, eh?

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

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