Lake District looks to the future with driverless vehicles from Dudley technology firm

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Self-driving vehicles are being considered as a sustainable transport alternative for the Lake District, with a driverless ‘pod’ being brought to Brockhole on Windermere by a Dudley-based technology firm.

The Lake District National Park is the first National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site to take part in such a feasibility study with Kingswinford-based Westfield Technology Group.

It will explore new technologies which will allow people to access the National Park in an environmentally sustainable way, and automated pods are being trialled as a potential solution.

The pods use cutting edge technology, including sensors to detect road conditions and obstacles in the road, to transport people in an environmentally friendly way.

Richard Leafe, chief executive at 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. 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 is being demonstrated on-site at Brockhole on Windermere today and tomorrow, giving the public the opportunity to experience the vehicle first-hand.

Julian Turner, Westfield Technology Group chief executive, said: “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. This collaborative effort will allow us to creative a sustainable and accessible transport mode for journeys in the future.

“We’re particularly looking forward to hearing feedback from the local residents and visitors at Brockhole, as their input into how services can help meet their needs will be invaluable when planning possible routes for the POD to run in this area.”