Ultra Global and Taiwanese partners to carry out landmark study into Personal Rapid Transit (PRT)

Ultra Global is delighted to announce that it has signed a contract with its partners China Engineering Consultants Inc (CECI) to carry out a feasibility study into the deployment of Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) within Taiwan. The agreement, the first to explore Ultra’s transport technology in Taiwan highlights the continued interest being shown in PRT across the South East Asian region. Ultra’s Head of Operations Mark Griffiths is today attending a workshop in New Taipei City to officially launch the project.

The study is a high level planning and design project which aims to increase awareness and understanding of PRT with a range of decision makers, stakeholders and members of the public and make them aware of the social and economic opportunities associated with it. Also included within the scope of the study is a specific exploration into the implementation of PRT in New Taipei City, an area which has been identified by Ultra and CECI as a location where PRT can be a lever in unlocking latent economic potential. The project which is expected to last until August 2014 will also draw on the expertise of consultants Sinclair Knight-Merz (SKM) whose own input and expertise will add considerable value to the project.

The contract is another positive step for the Bristol based developers of the technology Ultra Global who have gone from strength to strength since opening their first system in May 2011. The Heathrow pod, the world’s first commercially operational PRT system has now carried close to a million passengers and has amassed over 1,000,000 safe driverless passenger miles. The efficient operational performance at Heathrow along with the popularity of the system has resulted in tremendous interest across the world and the Taiwanese study is one of a number of studies Ultra is currently involved in.

Ultra’s Managing Director Fraser Brown was delighted to have signed the contract, saying “Our work over the past few years has identified the huge potential in PRT to provide high value, low cost, integrated transport solutions, and we look forward to working with CECI to identify how Ultra PRT can deliver a unique and bespoke response to transport requirements across Taiwan. This development is the result of a number of discussions and visits by both Ultra and CECI to Taiwan and the UK respectively and was initiated some 18 months ago.”

Contact: Richard Isles
T: +44 (0) 208 757 2054
E: richard.isles@ultraprt.com

About Ultra Global:

Ultra Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) is a new and innovative on-demand system for developed or urban environments. It is designed to meet the need for congestion free, multi-origin, multi-destination public transport. Using small driverless electric vehicles that run on guideways, the lightweight and flexible nature of the system enables it to be retrofitted into a broad range of environments and provide transportation that is environmentally friendly and operationally efficient. Ultra PRT has been designed with reliability and safety built-in as standard to ensure the comfort and security of passengers.

Founded by Bristol University (UK) Professor Martin Lowson in 1995, the company’s first system opened in May 2011 at London Heathrow Airports Terminal 5 and currently transports passengers to and from the Terminal’s designated Business Car Park. In addition to removing 70,000 bus journeys on Heathrow’s congested roads each year, the system has also saved 200 tonnes of Co2 per annum and has previously been voted by customers as the single highest scoring passenger service on the entire airport campus.

About CECI

CECI was established in 1969 primarily for the purpose of uplifting Taiwan’s technology and assisting in the economic development of Taiwan and other developing countries. Over the years CECI has undertaken some of the region’s biggest civil, architectural, structural and electrical/mechanical engineering projects, and with the emergence of the electronic information age, has actively expanded its scope of services into new areas of work, including Geographical Information Systems (GIS), Global Positioning Systems (GPS), Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), e-commerce and biotechnology.

Engineering & Technology Magazine video report on Heathrow pod and PRT

Representatives from Ultra, Heathrow Airport and Arup took part in a short film chronicling the benefits of the Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system deployed at Heathrow and the potential for the deployment of the technology in alternative applications such as urban environments.

Taking part in the film were Ultra’s Head of Engineering David Marron, Heathrow Airport’s Retail Services Director Max Vialou-Clark and Arup’s Associate Director Austin Smith.

The film can be seen here.

Heathrow pod receives Green Apple award

Ultra Global and Heathrow Airport were delighted that the Heathrow pod was awarded a coveted International Green Apple Award in front of an international audience at a ceremony at the Houses of Parliament last week. The International Green Apple Awards for Environmental Best Practice and Sustainable Development are run by the ‘The Green Organisation’ and are recognized internationally for identifying and promoting best practice in the field of sustainability.

Since commencing full passenger service in May 2011, the Heathrow pod has demonstrated its environmental prowess with the zero emission electric vehicles having saved over 200 tonnes of CO2 per annum and having removed 70,000 bus journeys from Heathrow’s road each year. With global environmental concerns growing, Ultra Global hope authorities and transport committees will turn to more sustainable solutions such as Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) to meet growing transport demand in the UK and internationally. On winning the award, Ultra MD Fraser Brown commented, ‘We are thrilled to be recognized with a gold award, sustainable performance is a key benefit of the Ultra system and is one of a number of reasons why there continues to be firm interest in the deployment of PRT globally.’

The gold award for the Heathrow pod was one of four awards won by Heathrow Airport on the night, a tally that ensured the airport were crowned ‘Champion of Champions’ at the event.

UK Minister Lord Green Visits the Heathrow pod

Ultra Global were recently delighted to host Lord Green, Minister of State for Trade and Investment as he visited the company’s Heathrow pod personal rapid transit (PRT) system. In addition to a visit to the control room the Minister was able to take a return trip on the pods which have provided close to a million passengers with a link between Terminal 5 and the terminals designated Business Car Park. The pioneering technology which uses small driverless electric vehicles that run on dedicated guideways has successfully been in operation at the airport since May 2011.

In addition to the tour, Ultra’s Managing Director Fraser Brown welcomed the opportunity to share news of Ultra’s work with the minister including updates on projects in Brazil, India, Malaysia and Taiwan. The visit was also an appropriate occasion for Mr Brown to thank the minister for the tremendous support provided by Lord Green’s team at UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) who have helped promote Ultra’s technology so successfully in a number of international markets.

Lord Green becomes the latest in a succession of UK Government representatives to have travelled on the system in the past 12 months including Vince Cable, Patrick McLoughlin, Alan Duncan and Norman Baker. MD Fraser Brown hopes that visits such as this will continue to help improve the profile of personal rapid transit ensuring it is on the agenda at the very highest level. Mr Brown commented ‘Ultra’s future success depends on highlighting the ability and potential of our technology to provide effective connectivity solutions within the UK and worldwide. Lord Green and his team at UKTI are fundamental to this process and we are delighted to have had the opportunity to showcase our work personally to the Minister.’

Heathrow pod’s latest Rt Hon fan

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ultra recognised at UK National Transport Awards

At the award ceremony which took place in London on the 11th October, Ultra Global’s Heathrow pod was Highly Commended in the ‘Most Innovative Transport Project’ category of the National Transport Awards 2012.

Launched at Terminal 5 in April 2011, Heathrow pod is a network of 21 low-energy, battery powered, driverless, zero emission, transport vehicles. They carry four passengers and their luggage along a dedicated 3.8km guide way between the main terminal and its business car parks. Each pod is controlled by an internal computer and onboard sensor systems.

This year, the Pods will carry their ½ millionth passenger and continues to grow in popularity with several countries lining up to use the advanced technology. Work has started on the project to deliver the world’s first urban PRT system in Amritsar, India.

The Heathrow pod was showcased at the Global Business Summit on Infrastructure this year as an example of the best of British business to the world to develop strong international partnerships for future growth. The event drew delegates from Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Russia and Ghana.

For Ultra it is an honor to be recognized at the National Transport Awards, which follows on from our success in winning in the ‘Most Innovative Transport Project’ category at the London Transport Awards earlier in the year.

For more information on the awards click here.

Ultra recognised at Light Rail Awards 2012

At the award ceremony which took place in London on the 3rd October, Ultra Global’s Heathrow pod was Highly Commended in the ‘UK Project’ category of the Light Rail Awards 2012.

This builds on a successful year for Ultra: in early 2012, the Pods were awarded the top prize at the British Parking Awards for transport innovation, as well as a London Transport Award for Most Innovative Transport Project.

Further success was achieved at the Global Air Rail Awards, where Heathrow pod won the Innovation of the Year award, and most recently the pods have been announced as the winner of the Most Innovative Service at the Best in Britain awards of The Great Exhibition 2012.

Launched at Terminal 5 in April 2011, Heathrow pod is a network of 21 low-energy, battery powered, driverless, zero emission, transport vehicles. They carry four passengers and their luggage along a dedicated 3.8km guide way between the main terminal and its business car parks. Each pod is controlled by an internal computer and onboard sensor systems.

This year, the Pods will carry their ½ millionth passenger and continues to grow in popularity with several countries lining up to use the advanced technology. Work has started on the project to deliver the world’s first urban PRT system in Amritsar, India.

The Heathrow pod was showcased at the Global Business Summit on Infrastructure this year as an example of the best of British business to the world to develop strong international partnerships for future growth. The event drew delegates from Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Russia and Ghana.

For more information on the Light Rail Awards click here.

BBC Today – Pod travel plan for Bristol enterprise zone

Automated pods on a guided roadway may be used to transport workers around a multimillion-pound enterprise zone in Bristol.

The city council is considering the plan for the business park close to Bristol Temple Meads station.

Liberal Democrat transport councillor Tim Kent said the pods were one of many options under consideration.

“It’s a lot cheaper than a traditional tram and it’s good for an area as small as the enterprise zone,” he added.

To read the full article, please go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-19757736