In a scene that wouldn’t be out of place in an episode of Black Mirror, Heaton Park has today welcomed the arrival of futuristic self-driving pods.
The pods, manufactured by Westfield Technology Group as a part of their Project Synergy, will be driving visitors on a set route around the park, starting from Heaton Hall and travelling down past the lake.
The driverless pods use ‘intelligent perception solution’ technology which utilises cutting edge LIDAR and Radar technologies alongside AI camera systems, allowing them to be fully aware of their surroundings within a 100 metre range.
New sensor technologies also mean they can facilitate ‘platooning’, allowing the vehicles to follow each other in a controlled formation, carrying up to four passengers in each one.
The overall aim of Project Synergy is to accelerate the adoption of autonomous, connected and driverless vehicles in the UK.
According to Westfield Technology Group, around 50,000 tons of carbon was saved each year at a previous trial of the pods at London Heathrow. They also estimate that using an on-demand pod service system out in public would save approximately 20,000 bus journeys per year.
Two of the pods will be in action from next week as part of a trial aimed at gauging public reaction to them. It is hoped a positive response will ‘provide a compelling argument’ for organisations such as Manchester City Council to consider making them a permanent fixture.
Partners of the project include Manchester City Council, Transport for Greater Manchester, Cisco, Stockport Council, Manchester Metropolitan University and Harper Adams University.
Harry Woolvine, Business Development Executive at Westfield Technology Group, said on the pods: “The collaborative nature of this new project just highlights the local excitement for these new sustainable technologies in the Manchester area.
“The trail is coinciding with the Lightopia display throughout the park, offering an even more unique opportunity to see this incredible light display whilst experiencing these new revolutionary technologies.
“We are looking forward to showing this ground breaking technology to Heaton Park’s visitors next week.”
The project will be in the park from the 6th -10th of December.
Northern housing estate so rough bus drivers were forced to stop going there
The services were fully suspended over the weekend following a spate of antisocial behaviour
A northern housing estate became so plagued with anti-social behaviour that bus drivers were told to avoid stopping there.
Two bus routes through the Swarcliffe Estate in Leeds were cancelled earlier in the year after teenagers reportedly targeted the vehicles and passengers with stones and rocks.
In a social media statement, First West Yorkshire announced that the 40 and 56 services would be avoiding the estate in both directions, citing ‘attempted vandalism’.
The tweet thread read: “SERVICE UPDATE – 40/56. Due to attempted vandalism, we are diverting away from the Swarcliffe Estate in both directions.
“So sorry for any issues this may cause on your journey.
“This will be in place until the end of service this evening. This is for the safety of both our drivers and passengers. I am sorry for the disruption caused.”
In a post on Facebook, Councillor Jessica Lennox, of Cross Gates and Whinmoor ward, addressed the vandalism, confirming that the 40 and 56 buses would be diverting around the area ‘as a result of some serious vandalism that took place earlier’.
Residents have previously spoken about how they ‘live in fear’ on the estate, saying intimidating anti-social behaviour is becoming worse.
One local teenager told Leeds Live of the youths who vandalised the buses: “They throw stones and break the buses whenever they come down here. I wasn’t surprised.
“Just the other day I saw three buses stopped at the bottom of the estate because they all had glass smashed everywhere. It had gone over a nearby mum and her pram.
“If you see a big group of people anywhere around here you turn around and go the other way.”
Her grandmother added: “Stones are always thrown at buses around here as there’s nothing for the kids to do… It’s really bad where big groups gather around the Co-Op.
“My grandson lives around the corner and he’s been attacked twice. We don’t really go out at night, and would use a taxi if we did. It’s not nice for the drivers or the passengers.”
Another resident, Keith Pettman, told the outlet that the estate was suffering major issues with antisocial behaviour, saying: “There’s some youths on the estate that are a little rowdy.
“They mess about with bikes and things like all bored teenagers do but I know they get in the way of buses and people.
“There’s definitely vandals around that will smash a few things up every so often. The field also gets ripped up and recently a load of dustbins got set on fire.”
Pub chain giving away FREE pints to anyone with one of these 50 surnames
Are you on the list?
England’s World Cup campaign got off to a flying start yesterday with a convincing 6-2 win over Iran.
Our Welsh neighbours – who are also in Group B with us – managed a draw with the USA, thanks to a late Gareth Bale penalty.
But goals aren’t the only thing to celebrate this World Cup, as a pub chain is giving away FREE pints to lucky fans who have one of 50 surnames.
Greene King is dishing out a free drink to anyone who has the same surname as a player in either the England or Wales squads.
If you have one of the lucky last names, you can claim a pint on the house at any point during an England or Wales game.
All you have to do is head to a participating Greene King pub with your driving licence or passport to prove your name.
Anyone with one of these 50 surnames can claim the free pint:
All you need to do is head down to your nearest participating boozer and show the bar your photo ID during any England or Wales World Cup group stage game.
You can find the nearest pub to you taking part in the offer here.
Will Ferrell appeals for spare room in North West to watch Eurovision
Got any room for Will?
Earlier this year it was announced that Eurovision 2023 would be held in Liverpool instead of Kiev, due to the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Following the news, all hotels and accommodation in the city quickly sold out – with many establishments dramatically increasing their prices in the process.
As such, finding somewhere to stay during the annual song contest has become nigh on impossible, even if you’re a Hollywood superstar like Will Ferrell.
Will recently appealed for help in finding accommodation for next year’s Eurovision during an appearance on BBC Radio 2 to promote his new film Spirited.
The actor previously wrote and starred in the 2020 film Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, playing Icelandic singer Lars Erickssong.
READ MORE: Will Ferrell’s Buddy the Elf returns to screens in new Asda Christmas advert
During the BBC interview, Zoe Ball mentioned how much she enjoyed the film, to which Will responded: “And it’s in Liverpool this year, isn’t it?”
After being asked if he wanted to go, he said: “You know my mother really wants me to take her to Eurovision, she’s dying to go and she’s always wanted to go to Liverpool.”
Will added: “But aren’t the hotels all booked now?”
After the comedian appealed for a spare room to stay in, Zoe said: “If anyone is willing to put up Will Ferrell and his mum in Liverpool or the Liverpool area during Eurovision.”
Will revealed his requirements: “We need a clean, tidy room. We’ll share a room – two bunk beds that’s all we need. I know we’re kidding but my mom would love that, she’d be thrilled.”
Eurovision 2023 will consist of two semi-finals on May 9th and 11th, before the final on May 13th.