Could taxes on automated technologies such as the Heathrow self-driving pods discourage green vehicles? 2-23-2018
Cardiff, Wales, was to be the site of the first Ultra network. Now city councillor Michael Michael (Labor) wants to examine the technology again. Includes video of Ultra road testing underway in Greenwich in London. 4-5-2017
Glasgow Airport: Airport-Paisley PRT option revealed. 10-14-2016
"Fairwood Group today said it has teamed up with Ultra PRT of the UK to provide next generation technology-enabled urban mobility systems in India." Which is strange, since Fairwood and Ultra have been working together for at least five years. 8-26-2016
Ultra pods were focus of 3 month STEM education program in Heathrow-area schools 6-1-2016
Richard Garriott pitches 'Personal Rapid Transit' at SXSW. 3-14-2016
KXAN (NBC Austin): Could pods help Austin? 3-14-2016
Commute in a Speedy, Private, Storm Trooper Helmet 3-14-2016
London is testing the self-driving pods some Austinites crave 4-1-2016
BBC: "London's first driverless cars revealed" 1-28-2016
...and it's Ultra, modified for street use. The test will take place in the Greenwich Peninsula area (site of O2 Arena) starting in July, as part of Gateway -- 'Greenwich Automated Transport Environment.' The report makes it clear that while the Heathrow Pod's look is familiar (and perhaps comforting choice of "the design we have now"), all-new software, navigation and sensors will be used.
ABC News bulletin 1-29-2016
Video: Slo-mo test run 5-13-2016
How a space-faring entrepreneur intends to fix Austin's traffic woes Businessman/space tourist/smart guy Richard Garriott partnering with former Texas Lt. Gov Ben Barnes (D) to bring PRT to Austin. 8-13-2015
ABJ Poll - Are pods a good idea?
Barnes to comment on plan "next week" 8-14-2015
Turns heads at city hall 8-17-2015
Statesman poll 8-17-2015 At 3 days, plurality say PRT "could be an effective solution". Things to note in Comments on the poll: 1) They're not understanding advantage of high average speed (combined with nonstop travel) over top speed; 2) they're not understanding the concept of aggregate capacity of the network; 3) they're not understanding that 'personal' and 'point to point' MEAN 'nonstop from station to station of your choice' - whether it's 3 stations at Heathrow or dozens of stations in an urban application; 4) they're expecting pods to be good at short urban trips AND longer commuting, whereas the future would still be multimodal.
Is Austin ready? 8-18-2015
Austin source tells the NewsCenter the Garriott-Barnes proposal is "fragile but possible"; earlier Garriott pitch ended due to global recession drying up available funds. 8-20-2015
"Stockholm airport proposal elevates runways among city rooftops" 7-13-2015
Transit pods (depicted by Ultra) would also serve as aircraft gates.
"High-tech vision for town's public transport future put forward by business leader" 6-15-2015
PRT like Ultra could link town center of Yeolvil, Somerset, to rail station -- reopen closed town station.
Hands off with Heathrow's autonomous pod cars (BBC). 9-10-2014
"Punjab's fairy tale public transport projects" 7-31-2014
Times Of India reviews several Punjab transit projects, confirms the state has trouble implementing anything, whether pods, metro or bus. Noted: Planned pod fare of R40 ($.65) is called too high.
Chief Minister of Haryana (India) tells agency to "get cracking" on Gurgaon project after 3 year delay. 7-8-2014
New Okhla Industrial Development Authority
Sector 18 Metro station
Materials industry: Heathrow Pod light weight means greater energy efficiency, lower emissions. 6-3-2014
Google expresses support for PRT. 4-9-2014
Mountain View Councilman Inks: PRT not dead yet; Google manager: "We need to have an eye towards PRT systems and self-driving cars that are coming closer to fruition in the U.S. every day."
'Pod car mayor' Kasperzak steers discussion toward existing systems; opponent says airport system like Ultra may not be aesthetically suitable.
Ultra one of several technologies proposed to connect Glasgow Airport to the town of Paisley (pop. 74,170).
11-26-2015: Glasgow-area 'city deal' intergovernmental group exploring rail link. The options are trains on existing rails and new tram tracks, and intermodal train-PRT.
Political battle over project between the cities (Labour) and Scottish government (SNP). 11-26-2015
Transport writer/mayoral candidate wants 3rd option, a heavy rail line part of national network. 11-30-2015
Heavy monorail rejected, planners stick with pod and train-tram options. 5-31-2016
Cutbacks in Heathrow Airport's 5 year plan mean the airport's innovative driverless transit pods, currently serving Terminal 5, will not be extended to Terminal 2 under current plans.
Ultra's Richard Isles told the NewsCenter today that the Terminal 2 extension, which actually was to be a separate PRT system, was part of the 2014-19 capital plan submitted by Heathrow to both the airlines and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the UK government regulator. CAA rejected the five year plan because it would increase costs to the airlines, which would be passed on to their customers. CAA told Heathrow to revise its costs downward, so cuts were made.
"The capital plan [has] been settled on and unfortunately it looks as though the second PRT system will not be included," Isles said. He said Ultra is exploring all-private funding for Terminal 2 pods.
In other Heathrow Pod news, Isles said the Terminal 5 Pod is now available for use by guests of The Thistle, a hotel near pod station B. Starting last fall, guests needing to go to Terminal 5 can do so for a £5 fare. About 1,000 Thistle guests are estimated to have used the pods so far.
Political controversy now swirls around pod project. 2-26-2014
In January Dep Chief Minister cited 'technical flaws.' Local Congressmen demonstrate -- say 2011 PRT dedication in runup to election "befooled the voters"; allege current Bus Rapid Transit initiative is designed to affect upcoming general election.
June 2014: BRT project appears to be on track 6-11-2014
Huge Airport, Huge Savings (Heathrow). 2-25-2014
"Passengers consistently give the new transit mode high marks; not surprising given that the pods boast a 99 percent reliability rate, and keep passengers waiting no more 10 to 15 seconds. The pods also consume 70 percent less energy than it takes to power a car and 50 percent less than a bus."
"Doubtful credibility": Amritsar PRT on 'backburner' as Dep Chief Minister cites doubts about Ultra Fairwood. 1-13-2014
Notes the Tribune: "Besides, the government seems to be in no mood to antagonise traders and other sections which are up in arms against the project ahead of the Lok Sabha poll [general election]."
India Tribune: No movement on PRTS project or 'city bus service'; infrastructure board says pod process still on. 11-18-2013
Despite articles to the contrary (such as), the driverless pods planned for use in Milton Keynes are not by Ultra PRT. Our sources say 2-person EVs ("cars of the future") will be used. And they will be driven like a regular car, only becoming driverless if they prove successful and people get used to them being on the streets.
UK Trade & Investment Minister Lord Green visits Heathrow Pod 10-14-2013
Cameron appointee Stephen Green was CEO-Chairman of HSBC at the time of revelations the bank allowed money laundering by drug dealers and terrorists
:: Times of India: Sources- Punjab government may scrap project 9-21-2013
Company official promotes Fairwood projects; Amritsar, Gurgaon and Thiruvananthapuram thumbnailed. 8-12-2013
Punjab Newsline Network: Deputy Chief Minister's plan for Amritsar PRT called a 'non-starter' due to lack of will from the government, local administration and narrow approach by shopkeepers along the route; "may not be a reality even in the next a few years." 8-5-2013
In BBC 4 report Is Britain enjoying the wrong kind of growth? Ultra transit pods are held up as an example of the right kind. 7-25-2013
International growth seen 7-17-2013
Martin V. Lowson passed away June 14 due to a stroke. He was 75.
Professor Lowson founded personal rapid transit maker Advanced Transport Systems Ltd., later renamed Ultra Global, in 1995, after a distinguished career that included the Apollo space program, where he led a team of over 50 staff. He served as Director of Corporate Development for the helicopter maker Westland, responsible for marketing the EH101 in Canada and for establishing two systems companies. Mr. Lowson was Chief Scientist at Westland, where he established and led the Westland Technology Demonstrator program. This generated the advanced rotor system, for which he is a patentee, now used on both Lynx and EH101 helicopters.
He became a Chartered Fellow of the Institute of Logistics and Transport in 2003, a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1991, a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society in 1986, and an overseas Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics in 1993.
He was the Sir George White Professor of aerospace engineering at Bristol University when he conceived and developed Ultra. On May 8, 2013, the second anniversary of the launch of Ultra's Heathrow Pod transit system, Professor Lowson commented, "It is extremely satisfying, and testimony to the dedicated work of the whole Ultra team, to reach one million miles, fully driverless and two years full passenger service. Most satisfying of all is that the pod continues to delight its users."
Times Higher Education
Notice in The Times
"The government of Punjab is expected to rubber stamp the plans imminently"; construction could begin 2013 or 2014; to begin operations mid-2016.
"POD Cars In Heritage City" (Amritsar) 4-8-2013