The Westfield pod
The Westfield pod
Richard Bell

Lake District to explore potential of cutting-edge driverless vehicles

The Lake District is exploring the potential of self-driving vehicles as a sustainable transport alternative for visitors.

A state-of-the-art driverless ‘pod’ will arrive at Brockhole on Windermere this Friday (April 27) as part of a feasibility study looking at new, environmentally friendly transport technology.

The pilot scheme, funded by Innovate UK and run in partnership with Westfield Technology Group, will seek public feedback with a view to eventually making the vehicles permanently available throughout the Lakes.

The electric self-driving pods use sensors to detect road conditions and obstacles.

Richard Leafe, chief executive of the Lake District National Park, said: “We’re constantly looking at new ways to balance the needs and enjoyment of people as they visit and move around the Lake District, whilst being mindful of the impact on the environment.

“Driverless pods are a really interesting concept and while this is not necessarily something that will be seen on the Lake District streets soon, it’s vital we explore a range of solutions to sustainable travel.”

He added: “We’re excited to see the pods in action this week and to hear from the public on whether they would use this type of transport in the Lake District.”

The pod will be demonstrated at Brockhole on Friday and Saturday (April 27-28).

Westfield chief exec Julian Turner commented: “We’re really excited to be trialling the pods in the Lake District, which is such a popular tourist destination in the UK.

“Through this project we’re identifying possible routes for the pod and talking to the local community about how we could meet their transport needs.”

Julian continued: “This collaborative effort will allow us to creative a sustainable and accessible transport mode for journeys in the future.”

The Lake District National Park is the first National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site to participate in a feasibility study on driverless vehicles.

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