MIT Technology Review provides details on how the robotic cars for Masdar City in the UAE will work.
At both Heathrow and Masdar City, the vehicles will be battery-powered, driverless cars. The system at Heathrow--built by Advanced Transport Systems, based in Bristol, UK--uses cars powered by lead-acid batteries along a concrete track and guided by laser range finders, says Steve Raney, a consultant for the company. For Masdar City, a Dutch company called 2getthere has developed cars powered by more-advanced batteries made of lithium iron phosphate. The pods travel on pavement equipped with embedded magnets placed every five meters, which the vehicle uses, along with information about wheel angles and speed, to determine its location, says Robert Lohmann, the marketing manager at 2getthere. When a person selects a destination, a central computer designates a path for the vehicle, and an on-board computer makes sure the car sticks to the path. (The system is being used now to control vehicles that transport cargo in warehouses.)
This is following a prior article Toward City Scale Robotic Car Systems: Abu Dhabi Trackless Podcar City, Robotic Warehouses