Coventry-based RDM Group, which is heavily involved in the Government-backed LUTZ and UK AutoDrive projects, is set to reveal the next generation of driverless car - its new ‘Pod Zero’ range, at the major automotive event Automechanika in Birmingham this week.
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. A driverless car ideal for local city transport authorities; airports; shopping centres, and theme parks looking for a first/last mile transport solution.
Withe the four-seat ‘Pod Zero’ on display for visitors to see, CEO of RDM Group, David Keene explained that unveiling it puts the company at the forefront of driverless car pod manufacturing.
He said: “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.”
“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.
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Keene added: “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.
“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.”