Global recognition for driverless vehicle designed in Coventry

RDM Group, which was founded in 1993, is expected to turnover £8m this year.

A Coventry engineering firm is receiving international acclaim for its involvement in one of the UK’s first driverless vehicle projects.

RDM Group, which employs 39 people in the city, has been named in global news network CNN’s ‘10 Better by Design’ listing after it impressing with its plans to design and build electric pods to be used on the pavements of Milton Keynes.

The company is the only entrant from the UK and features among a high profile list that includes a hospital, airport, pop-up public living room and playground.

David Keene, chairman of RDM, said despite the honour being unexpected, he was delighted British innovation and design had been recognised on a global stage.

“The Low Carbon Urban Transit (LUTZ) programme, which is funded by the Transport Systems Catapult, is the latest in a long line of niche vehicle builds and could open the door for a whole host of new opportunities for us as a business,” he said.

“It has already created four new jobs and the entire project will involve every member of our team working on it at some stage of the design and production.”

RDM will undertake the manufacture of the LUTZ pods at its new £400,000 advanced engineering centre in Coventry and is planning to complete the first prototype vehicle by September.

This will allow the Oxford University robotics experts to install their technology and begin test-track trials in early 2015.

Once these are completed, the pods will be ready for testing in public on the pavements of Milton Keynes, transporting up to two passengers around the town’s key places of interest.

With safety issues of paramount importance, the vehicles will continue to be manned by trained human operators throughout the duration of the assessment programme.

Neil Fulton, programme director at Transport Systems Catapult, added: “The LUTZ Pathfinder project will redefine how people think of ‘driving’, and therefore fits in perfectly with our mission to promote UK business growth in the field of intelligent mobility.”