Heathrow pod’s latest fan, the Rt Hon Alan Duncan MP, Minister of State for International Development hopped on board a pod at Terminal 5, at the beginning of his UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) ministerial mission to Singapore, and Malaysia on Monday 3rd December. The Minister was leading a trade mission of 27 companies to promote the UK’s expertise in Smart Cities technology, which uses ICT solve problems relating to urban living.
The pods are an unmanned system of rechargeable automatic mini-taxis. The Minister said of his first ever ride on a pod, “This is British engineering, design and execution at its best. This is a revolutionary, environmentally friendly transport system that’s easy and cost effective to install, pollution free and extremely fun to use. It highlights the UK’s and Ultra Global’s ability in designing a world first and world beating new form of transport, moving large numbers of travellers, to exactly where and when they want to go. This is exactly the sort of innovative system that I’ll be promoting on my forthcoming Far East Trade Mission.”
The Minister was accompanied on his ride by Fraser Brown, MD of Ultra Global PRT, the Bristol company that designed, engineered and runs the Heathrow pod at Heathrow’s T5. The system, originating from Bristol University, has been in operation at the Airport for 18 months, carrying nearly 500,000 passengers and winning passenger plaudits and industry awards along the way.
Ultra Global is working with its Far East partner Fairwood on an engineering feasibility study at Changi Airport, looking at connecting existing terminals and the new Terminal 4 building. In addition, Ultra has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with YTL of Malaysia and Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM) and are working on opportunities in Kuala Lumpur, particularly in the town of Putrajaya.
The Ultra Global pod is world beating transport technology which can be easily installed, with minimal disruption or environmental impact, give existing cities with already established infrastructure/buildings real economic and social benefits in a sustainable way by solving ‘last mile’ solutions, which is what passengers want.