Automatic pods to transport passengers using Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport have been unveiled following a year-long trial.

The computer-driven electric vehicles can carry up to four passengers and their luggage at speeds of up to 25 mph along a dedicated 3.8km track, between the business car park and the main airport building. Heathrow passengers can choose their destinations using laser sensors.

The system – which started life as a Bristol University project – was developed by UK company ULTra and BAA and consists of 21 low energy, battery powered, driverless, zero emission vehicles.

Airport operator BAA, revealed that the batteries recharge themselves when the pods, which use sensors, are stationary.