The UK’s first AirPOD is being developed in the West Midlands and has been funded by Innovate UK and the Niche Vehicle Network.
Westfield Autonomous Vehicles, Cranfield University and Harper Adams University will work together and undertake a project aimed at transferring technology from the niche automotive industry to the aviation industry. The AirPOD will utilise the latest technology in automation sensing for navigation and technology in the form of a battery, bio-composite materials, autonomous control and light weighting structures. At a scaled level, the project will prove the concept of producing a more time efficient, environmentally friendly and convenient multi-application platform for demonstrating goods transport but also being designed for passenger transport.
The AirPOD concept provides a powerful alternative to replace driving cities around the globe and alleviate problems in time spent on roads. Reducing travel time to minutes, the AirPOD is envisioned to offer several benefits, none more critical than emergency care, medical goods transfer between hospitals, provision of medical support and aid in rural locations such as the Lake District. The drone will be deployed and charged from the roof of POD.
The Trial locations will include Warwick Hospital, University Hospital Birmingham, Christies Hospital Manchester and The Lake District.
Westfield Chief Executive Officer Julian Turner said: “the AirPOD could revolutionise rural areas in terms of emergency care. We are delighted to work with Harper Adams on this project who are at the forefront of advancing these applications.”
Westfield Autonomous Vehicles is a subsidiary of Westfield Technology Group. They are the UK’s first provider of first mile, last mile transportation. Their POD’s have driven more than 3.6m passengers in excess of 5.6m km.
Harper Adams University is a public university who are currently working on harvesting a hectare of cereal crops using autonomous drones, crop sprayers and tractors.
Cranfield University – Through the strong links with industry we have built over the past 70 years, we focus on defining and delivering the aircraft, airport and airspace management of the future.