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Back in May 2011, Heathrow airport unveiled a futuristic transportation system consisting of 21 electric pods operating on a specialised road system. The computer operated pods shuttle passengers between Terminal 5 and its dedicated car park. The idea has proved so successful that it is being adopted by the town of Milton Keynes. The question is will this new technology make the coach driver an endangered species?

Located north of London, Milton Keynes has decided to invest the money necessary to replace its noisy and pollution-prone public buses with a modern pod system. When complete, the system will ferry passengers along dedicated routes that will take them to major business destinations, the centre of town area, and even the local train station. The idea is to send all public buses into retirement.

VentureBeat magazine reports that each of the proposed pods can carry four passengers along with a moderate amount of luggage. The computerised pods will travel at approximately 12 mph along a system of specially built roads that keep them contained. The roads will not be track systems like those used by monorails or traditional trains, but more like narrow walkways protected by bumpers on either side.

The town hopes to have the system operational by 2015 and fully completed by 2017. What’s more, engineers are planning for the day when the pods can leave the dedicated bumper roads to travel on regular roadways. To make this possible, each of the pods will be equipped with manual controls just in case computerised systems ever fail.

Coaches Aren’t Dead Yet

While the plans in Milton Keynes are certainly exciting, there is no need to jump to conclusions and assume the traditional coach is dead. It’s not. It could easily take decades to build the infrastructure necessary to put city coaches out to retirement entirely. What’s more, some of the nation’s largest cities could not support the pod infrastructure without major disruptions – disruptions that are unlikely to happen.

In all likelihood, the automated transportation system we have all dreamed about will be implemented only on a limited basis. Both city bus routes and over-the-road coaches will continue to operate for the foreseeable future. This also means that the coach driver is not an endangered species.

If you are a young person considering pursuing a career as a coach driver, there is no need to be worried about an automated transportation system putting you out of a job. Moreover, right now, there are simply not enough drivers to meet the current demands of the industry. That’s not likely to change any time soon. Moving into the future there will still be a need for drivers across every sector of public transport.

Assuming you already have a full car license, the only thing preventing you from beginning your training is a medical exam. When you contact the HGV Training Centre, we will assist you in submitting your medical paperwork and preparing for the PCV theory test. You can begin your practical skills training after passing that test.


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