After long and extensive rounds of trials for over a year, automatic pods carrying passenger from Heathrow Airport's Terminal 5 in West London have been formally launched.

The driverless vehicles can take four people between the main building and business car parking. The airport operator BAA said that the batteries of the pods gets recharge automatically once the pods are fixed between zero-emission rides lasting 2.4 miles (3.8 km).

BAA anticipated that the launch of these pods will eliminate around 50,000 bus journeys at Heathrow per year. The system developed at the cost of £30m uses laser sensors in order to allow pods to find their way.

In 1995, Bristol University engineers launched the autmatic pods during a research assignment, and they were later developed with the airport.

"There's an enormous sense of pride for all the staff who were involved in turning this science-fiction dream into a reality at Heathrow and demonstrating the best of British innovation," BBC quoted Managing Director of Ulta, Fraser Brown as saying.

Ultra is the mastermind behind the system.