British startup Urban.MASS has unveiled what it describes as the world’s first self-driving mass transit transport system.
Flocks of driverless electric ‘pods’ will collect passengers from potentially anywhere in cities on-demand using existing road infrastructure.
The system combines ride-hailing transport with mass transit service and aims to provide zero-emission passenger and cargo journeys across cities.
The company plans to launch the first operational system at the National Railway Museum in Shildon in 2025.
That will mark the 200-year anniversary since the world’s first passenger locomotive, Stephenson’s Rocket, made its first journey on the same site.
The firm also aims to deliver networks in ten cities in the UK by 2030.
Kevin O’Grady, Chief Executive Officer of Urban.MASS, said: “Victorian-era rail and road technologies weren’t designed for the demands of modern life and yet worldwide we continue to rely on the same basic, expensive, and carbon-intensive system.
“It’s almost 200 years since the United Kingdom invented passenger rail – it’s time to once again set a new global precedent and upend the status quo of transport.”