Driverless electric pods trialled at Lake District National Park

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The Lake District National Park authority is trialling driverless electric pods to transport visitors around the popular vacation destination, in a bid to cut its total carbon emissions.

People are being invited to go to Brockhole visitor centre to test the zero-emission transport option.

According to the park authority, 89% of the Lake District’s 19 million visitors travel by car, resulting in a third of its total carbon emissions. It is therefore looking for an eco-friendly on-demand car-sharing service for visitors’ last-mile.

Emma Moody, the authority’s lead adviser for sustainable transport, said there is an opportunity for people to think about doing the last leg of their journey as sustainably as possible, from a transport hub or their Lake District base.

The driverless electric pods are on display at Brockhole visitor centre

“We’d love to get people’s thoughts and ideas including – what sorts of journeys they would use a pod for, what speed they would be comfortable travelling at, and when this might be a common form of transport.

“The pod can be seen in the grounds and car park at Brockhole, and staff are on hand to talk through the experience every Wednesday to Sunday.

“Pods use a mixture of sensors, radar and AI to navigate crowded areas and to scan the area looking for information, acting as the ‘eyes’ of the car,” added Moody.

Working with Westfield Technology Group, the authority is exploring how electric pods could offer residents and visitors accessible and sustainable transport to reduce the need to drive and to cut carbon. Driverless pods are already in use in other parts of the country.

The pod project at Brockhole is funded by the European Regional Development Fund as a part of a Low Carbon Lake District partnership.

It is one of a number of new technologies being adopted and considered by the authority to make its visitor centre operations more sustainable.

The pods will be on display until 31 May.

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