Driverless pod maker receives royal seal of approval

Coventry-based RDM Group had a surprise visitor to their display earlier today at celebrations held to mark the 50th birthday of Milton Keynes.

Prince William also took the opportunity to sit in the driverless pod - image courtesy of RDM Group
RDM’s Miles Garner showcases the company’s driverless pod to Prince William.

The Duke of Cambridge made a beeline to the firm’s driverless Pod that will shortly be commencing trials on the streets of the town as part of the UK Autodrive initiative into testing ‘first and last mile transport solutions’.

He met with sales and marketing director, Miles Garner, who showed him around the four-seater driverless pod that is fitted with the company’s own autonomous control system and travels up to 60 miles on one charge and can do a maximum speed of 15mph.

Prince William also took the opportunity to sit in the driverless vehicle and enquired about where the UK sat in relation to the rest of the world with this technology.

Initial trials of the pods are due to begin in pedestrianised areas of Milton Keynes later this year, with up to 40 pods set to be deployed across the town centre by the end of the project next summer.

UK Autodrive will also be trialling autonomous and connected road-based cars on the streets of both Milton Keynes and Coventry.

International expansion

Earlier this year, RDM Group announced the signing of a collaborative agreement to conduct autonomous vehicle projects in the US. The deal between RDM and design firm, Arup follows a successful similar partnership in the UK.

RDM’s expansion to the Houston (Texas) market will reportedly involve the recruitment of a dedicated programme lead, alongside leasing office space within Arup’s Houston officer as a base for developing new relationships. The Arup team is expected to provide technical expertise on new bids.

In January 2017, RDM invested in its first international facility at Flinders University campus in Adelaide. The office is responsible for purchasing, sales and technology support as part of the firm’s driverless pod expansion into Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.