Say hello to the Lutz Pod, the first driverless car in the UK

Driverless cars mean one day we might be able to sit in the back of our cars and take a nap on the way to work, and now that dream is one step loser to reality. Today we’ve been given our first look at the Lutz Pod, the UK’s first driverless car.

Officially known as the Lutz Pathfinder, but better known by its nickname, the car has been built and designed by Coventry’s RDM Group, and was unveiled in Greenwich as part of the Autodrive project. The Lutz Pod is designed to be used to help shoppers, commuters, and the elderly travel short distances, and 40 of them will be tested in pedestrianised areas of Milton Keynes later this year.

The Lutz Pod is large enough to fit two passengers and their luggage, has a range of 40 miles or eight hours of continuous travel, a top speed of 15 miles per hour, and pedestrians will be able to use a smartphone app to summon one for a lift.

One thing to note is that at the moment, legislation and the highway code isn’t relevant to driverless cars. Since the government wants the UK to become a leader in driverless car technology, it has announced that there will be an overhaul of road laws to accommodate the new vehicles.

This spring the Department of Transport will publish a code of practice that will outline the changes need to be made to the Highway Code and MOT testing before driverless cars enter mainstream use. In 2017 there will be a full review of current legislation which will deal with various things that do not affect human drivers. Things like who should be responsible if two driverless cars crash into each other, and whether they should be held to a higher standard than people.

It’s an exciting time now that we know driverless cars are going to be available for the public to try out in the near future. Even if the name Lutz does conjure up images of 30 Rock’s hapless writer.

Tom Pritchard