Driverless cars for the Lake District?

Trial explores whether electric pods could replace visitors' cars – cutting pollution and noise

Self driving pods wait at a car park at Heathrow airport in London, U.K., on Tuesday, March 29, 2016. Some of the Ultra Global PRT Pods will be developed to take part in the GATEway (Greenwich Automated Transport Environment) Project and be tested on streets without dedicated tracks, according to a statement on the TRL Ltd. website. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Cars could become a rare sight on Lake District roads – after the National Park announced that it was trialling driverless pods for visitors.

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The pods are self-driving vehicles – meaning no steering wheel is required. They use sensors to detect road conditions and obstacles in the road.

The National Park says that the use of electric cars would reduce pollution and traffic noise in the park – which attracts 18 million visitors a year.

It’s vital we explore a range of solutions to sustainable travel

Richard Leafe, chief executive at the Lake District National Park, said: “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.”

The trial is the fruit of a partnership between the National Park and Westfield Technology Group, based near Dudley in the West Midlands. Westfield supply the pods used at Heathrow Airport, pictured above.

The National Park says the feasibility study – due to end in June – will help decide whether pods are right for Lakeland, and if so which routes would work best.

See for yourself…

If you’d like to have a look at the pods – and give your feedback – you can experience one at Brockhole on Windermere on Friday 27 April (1-4pm) and Saturday 28 April (10am-4pm).

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MAIN PICTURE (above) courtesy of Getty Images.