Driverless taxis could be used to end congestion in central Birmingham, according to business leaders.
Birmingham Forward, which represents the financial, professional and business services sector, is urging city leaders to consider a space-age transport system.
Called ULTra, it uses miniature electrical cars with no driving seat to ferry passengers around.
Commuters use a touch sensitive computer screen to select their destination, and the vehicle carries up to four passengers, using a specially constructed narrow road or guideway.
They can run above ground, on steel, or on concrete ramps.
Fares are paid using plastic smartcards, which could be topped-up at vending machines like a phonecard.
It sounds like science-fiction, but Heathrow Airport is already putting its own ULTra scheme in place, to help customers move between terminals. It is to be up and running by 2008. But no city has so far implemented such a scheme. Richard Winfield,
board member of Birmingham Forward and chairman of its transport consultative group, said: "A personal rapid transport system has never been implemented in a city location before so this would be a revolutionary solution with the power to become a city icon.
"There is a global need for such systems and a Birmingham first could also lead to establishment of a local manufacturing base.
"Systems such as ULTra need to be considered now if we are to provide convenient transport for old and young alike as plans for an expanded Birmingham city come to fruition."