On 24th, 25th and 26th January the airport organised for its staff a display and testing of driverless vehicles, with the participation of several major companies from the sector.
Employees from Heathrow Airport, Ferrovial Airports and the Ferrovial Innovation department have taken part in the display and testing of driverless vehicles, organised by Heathrow with the aim of making airport staff familiar with this new type of transport. This is, however, not something new for Heathrow, since it is one of the few airports in the world already using a similar transport system: its PODs connect the T5 Car Park with the terminal building along a 3.8 km (2.36 miles) railway line. This event has had the support of some of the leading companies in the sector, such as Siemens, Arup and Atkins, through presentations on issues such as cyber security, current and future trends within the sector, or how this new type of transport contributes to innovation in cities, amongst others. Navya "Arma" is the name of the vehicle that has been on display in Heathrow’s Compass Centre over these three days, travelling alongside the usual vehicles and pedestrians present on any normal day at the airport. Developed by French company Navya, which specialises in the development of innovative and sustainable mobility solutions, “Arma” is 100% driverless and electric. It can currently take up to 15 passengers and reach a speed of 45 km/hr (28 miles). Moreover, it is equipped with a powerful 3D navigation system which allows it to easily identify obstacles and road signs, and assess traffic conditions. This initiative forms part of the activities identified by Heathrow’s innovation group working on analysing advances in the field of driverless cars. The aim of the innovation group, which was created in July 2016, is to evaluate the impact of this technology on the airport, and organise actions and pilot tests.