Tourists to London can now drive themselves around to the city’s top landmarks — if they don’t mind a bit of multitasking.
London’s new self-driving tour from Yonda takes tourists around to iconic places like Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace on their own time.
Tourists pick up smart cars from Yonda headquarters on Park Lane and then take off, equipped with a unique satellite navigation system that provides facts on the city as visitors move along with traffic.
The system is synced with GPS so if tourists are stuck in traffic (which is frequent in central London), they will continue to hear relevant facts about the block they are on. The tour is interrupted only by driving instructions like “turn left” or “make a U-turn.”
Through the course of their drive, visitors will pass through iconic neighborhoods like Mayfair, Soho, Covent Garden and Whitehall. The route takes the smart car down London’s smaller, cobblestone streets — something that would be impossible on a traditional bus tour, according to Yonda.
The tour itself is mostly targeted at foreigners interested in British culture — there are factoids about the royal family, David Beckham, and classic films shot in the capital — although Londoners will probably find out new facts about the small buildings along the route. The drive takes from an hour to an hour-and-a-half, depending on traffic.
There are a few things to be mindful of before booking a self-driving tour: Although London’s start-and-stop traffic should make it easier to enjoy the tour at a leisurely pace, driving in a new city is never easy. Especially a city where everybody drives on the opposite site of the road.
Visitors renting out the car must have a valid driver’s license and be between the ages of 25 and 75.
The tour costs about £60 ($77) for a two-seat vehicle, including insurance. Four-seat vehicles will be available later this year. The cars are available to rent seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.