RDM to debut its driverless pods ‘down under’

Posted on 5 Oct 2016 by Jonny Williamson

Driverless vehicle technology developed in Coventry by RDM Group is travelling more than 10,000 miles to make its Australian debut next week.

RDM Group has been invited by the Australian Driverless Vehicle Initiative (ADVI) to showcase its new autonomous pods to visitors at the 23rd World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) held in Melbourne.

The Pod Zero is being showcased for the first time - image courtesy of RDM.
The Pod Zero comes in two, four or eight seat variations.

It’s the first time the firm has exhibited outside of Europe and underlines its intention to expand into new territories, including the Asia-Pacific market where it is already in talks with government and universities on providing ‘first and last mile’ transport solutions.

Delegates to the high-profile show will be able to explore the pod on the ADVI stand and talk to technical experts about the technology used and its capabilities, which include a top speed of 15 mph off highway, an operational range of 60 miles and that it can be built in two, four, six and eight-seater variants.

Founder and current CEO of RDM Group, David Keene explained: “The ITS World Congress is a fantastic global stage for our business and we are delighted that our technology is generating significant interest thousands of miles away from where it is being developed.

“Australia is committed to being at the vanguard of driverless vehicles and we have been in discussions with ADVI for some time now about our autonomous pods and how we can potentially build, market and sell them in the Asia-Pacific region.”

David Keene, chairman, RDM Group
David Keene, CEO, RDM Group.

He continued: “We are hoping that by exhibiting one of our ‘Pod Zero’ vehicles we will bring the concept to life and accelerate the public’s appetite for this form of transport, [one which] reduces congestion, pollution and at the same time is accessible to people who can’t use mainstream solutions.

“This is just the start of a concerted push in Australia and this includes us signing up as an official partner of the Australian Driverless Vehicle Initiative.”

Pod Zero, fresh from completing the UK’s first public autonomous trial in September, will be staying in Australia after the doors have closed at the ITS World Congress.

With the support of ADVI, the Pod will be making its way to the ADVI Capital City Forums around Australia where the general public will get a chance to experience the future of smart mobility.

ADVI will also display the Pod at several conferences and exhibitions within the Asia-Pacific market over the next year to promote the future of transport, driverless vehicles and the RDM Pod Zero range.

According to Keene, Australia has had a long standing link to the UK in traditional automotive manufacturing and building its own manufacturing ecosystem.

Stock Automotive Industry Worker Factory Line UK manufacturing
According to Keene, Australia has had a long standing link to the UK in traditional automotive manufacturing.

The region is now looking to reverse recent economic fortunes by positioning itself as the leading figure domestically for driverless vehicles and is looking to forge potential relationships with RDM Group.

He concluded: “There is so much potential in Australia that it would be silly not to explore all avenues that give us a platform to bring our pods to the public.

“This includes potentially licensing our technology through a joint venture or it could mean investing in setting up a manufacturing base in Australia … logistically this would offer massive benefits and reduces the build and development lead time significantly.”