‘Next generation’ driverless pods to be unveiled at AutoMechanika
07 June 2016
RDM Group, which is involved in the Government backed LUTZ and UK AutoDrive projects, will use the major automotive event to reveal its new ‘Pod Zero’ range.
The company has invested substantially in creating the new autonomous pods that, for the first time, will be available in two, four and eight-seat variations, ideal for local city transport authorities, airports, shopping centres and theme parks looking for a first/last mile transport solution.
“Visitors to the show will be able to view the four-seat ‘Pod Zero’,” explained David Keene, CEO of RDM Group. “This is a massive day for our company and puts us right at the forefront of driverless pod manufacturing. Pod Zero represents the next generation of pod and features different drivetrain, steering systems and a new striking interior that is dominated by video screens that can play adverts, information videos or just become neutral to showcase the view from outside.”
He went on to add “we have taken learning from the LUTZ project and moved it on significantly so we now have a manufacturing process that could be ramped up to meet more than £15m of anticipated new orders.
“All our pods will have a range of 60 miles and will able to travel with a top speed of 15mph. We have also ensured that they have been designed to accommodate disabled people and have wheelchair access.”
At the heart of the new approach has been RDM’s desire to design, develop and integrate its own autonomous control system (ACS), which means the company can offer a single-source solution for driverless pods. Twelve experts have been recruited specifically to create the ACS and represent some of the finest minds in academia and industry involved in this growing technology.
“We quickly realised the importance of being able to deliver a complete solution, from design and manufacture of the pods to being able to develop the autonomous systems that drive it,” added David, who was recently voted one of the most influential manufacturing personalities in the West Midlands.
“With the new team in place, RDM can now manufacture to up to 200 driverless pods per year at our Coventry site and this capability could grow if we decide to move to a new purpose-built facility in the City. This will be driven by significant interest becoming confirmed orders.”
He concluded, “we are in advanced negotiations with a number of international parties keen to be the first to adopt the Pod Zero range. These include airports, universities and Government departments and could be worth in excess of £15m.”
RDM Group will display its driverless pod on stand 9B53 at AutoMechanika. The company has kindly been given the space by Richard Grant Mouldings Ltd, who is tier 1 suppliers for the interior trim panels, the exterior body panels and the wheel covers.