RDM Group’s pilotless pod goes public

Posted on 14 Sep 2016 by Fred Tongue

RDM Group is set to break new ground today when it completes the UK’s first ever public demonstration of a ‘first and last mile’ fully autonomous pod.

The Coventry-based technology specialist, which employs 65 people, is planning to show the public its Pod Zero fully autonomous vehicle for the first time. The vehicle will be showcased at the Cenex Low Carbon Vehicle event, taking place today and tomorrow, on a specially laid out track, designed to show off the pods versatility.

“It’s a massive moment for our business and in the UK’s desire to lead the way when it comes to driverless vehicle technology,” explained David Keene, who founded RDM Group in 1993.

The Pod Zero comes in two, four or eight seat variations.
The Pod Zero comes in two, four or eight seat variations – image courtesy of RDM.

“The company has invested millions of pounds in the technology and our team has created a vehicle which can operate in total ‘autonomous’ mode. This means that there is no driver or human controlling the vehicle, a UK first when it comes to ‘first and last mile’ transport solutions.”

“There will be significant interest in this latest development step and it paves the way for full trials – carrying people from A to B – to now take place. It will also help us complete a number of opportunities from interested parties throughout the world.”

RDM Group has developed various different models of the Pod, which include two, four and eight seater options. The Pods are ideal for city transport authorities, airports and shopping centres.

The vehicles have a working range of 60 miles, can reach speeds of 15mph and each pod has been designed with special features for users who need wheelchair access or are visually impaired.

Keene, who also sits on the UK Automotive Council, concluded: “RDM can now manufacture up to 200 driverless pods per year at our Coventry manufacturing site and this capability could grow if we decide to move to a new purpose built facility in the city.

“This growth will be driven by fulfilling the significant worldwide interest in our products that we have generated.”