Driverless taxis may seem the stuff of science fiction, but this is what Advanced Transport Systems is aiming to develop with its ULTra system (short for Urban Light Transport). This new form of public transport is an energy-efficient taxi system that uses electrically powered driverless pods running on narrow tracks between stations. Passengers board their pods at a station and program their destination using a smart card. The pod will travel at 25*mph, recharging its battery along the way. The system has been commissioned to link the redeveloped Cardiff Bay area to the city centre and the company hopes to have it running by 2006. Revenue has been generated from government, European Commission and other contracts, and has increased 127% a year from £249,000 in 2000 to £1.3m in 2002.
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