This week London’s cabs were once again voted the best in the world, but within a few years could be on the scrapheap.

Popular on LondonNet

The future promised by advocates of driverless cars is filled by a huge fleet of robot vehicles supplanting not just the traditional taxi, but all other cars, too.

Electric pods – like the ones at Heathrow Airport – announced the other day for Milton Keynes point the way forward, but also the way back, for electric cabs first appeared in London in 1897, beating their diesel epigones by six years.

They went at about the same speed – 12mph – as the MK cabs, but couldn’t keep up with the centuries-old horse-powered variety. The next step is easy to predict – by the 21st century Dobbin and his pals will gallop back on to the streets, driven by little robot jockeys.