Case Study - Ultra Global PRT

Our engineering team used various technologies to support development of the personal rapid transport system “Ultra Pod”, located at London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5. Ultra pods are a new type of transportation technology, which consists of small, lightweight, driverless electric vehicles running on special-purpose guideways. With a total carrying capacity of up to 450kg, the Ultra pods are perfectly suited to accommodate wheelchairs, prams and bicycles.

Customer Request

  • CAE Led design of the PoD Structure and Interior to meet structural requirements and occupant safety requirements
  • 3 Vehicle Control Systems connected on a CAN Bus (Vehicle Control, Motor Control and Electric Power Steering Control)
  • Electronically actuated Side Door and Emergency exit linked to vehicle drive & brakes to ensure vehicle cannot operate when Exits are open
  • From Design Sign Off to Vehicle Sign Off in 12 months
  • Rigorous safety verification programmed aligned with legislation for guided vehicle systems.

« Ultra Pod Model

ARRK's solution

  • Program management
  • Supply chain management
  • Vehicle engineering (body, trim, chassis)
  • Prototyping
  • Test & validation; virtual - simulation / physical
  • Software validation test mule vehicle
  • Adverse weather track clearance vehicle
  • Low volume production build – 22 vehicles

ARRK Team Prototyping »

Project outcome

Original scope was a two year pilot study producing 22 running prototype units.
Trials were so successful the vehicles remain in full service today and carry upwards of 1,000 travelers per day.
ARRK is still operating and maintaining the fleet at London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5.

« Ultra Pod at London Science Museum

ARRK has been associated with Ultra Global PRT since 2002. The ‘Heathrow Pod’ transfers passengers between Terminal 5 and business car park, where it replaced the shuttle bus service. Ultra vehicle is a semi – autonomous vehicle running in a constrained environment. Given a destination, it will follow a prescribed path and speed profile, using various sensors and actuators to estimate and correct its navigational and kinematic state along the guideway.