UK autonomous vehicle specialist lands $1million grant to boost Australian expansion
Leading UK autonomous vehicle designer and manufacturer RDM Group will use a $1 million South Australian Government grant to proceed with local trials of its revolutionary autonomous mobility technology.
The company, which employs 65 people at its headquarters in the West Midlands, has been awarded the grant through the government’s $10 million Future Mobility Lab Fund.
RDM Group’s Adelaide-based Autonomous Programme Director, Roger van der Lee, said the funding would also be used to further establish the company’s Asia-Pacific base at Adelaide’s Tonsley innovation precinct.
“Our base within the Flinders University campus at Tonsley is our first international facility, and we’re very keen to start building a supply chain for our technology throughout Australia and the Asia-Pacific region,” he said.
“RDM Group is already exploring trial opportunities with Flinders University and a range of other organisations interested in ‘first and last mile’ transport and logistics solutions.
“With global interest in autonomous freight and passenger transport systems growing rapidly, we want to make sure we are at the forefront of this cutting-edge new industry.”
RDM Group’s move to Adelaide followed a successful showcase of the company’s ‘Pod Zero’ at last year’s 23rd World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems in Melbourne.
As part of its local operations, the company will employ a Flinders University PhD student to boost the collaborative development of new technologies associated with the autonomous vehicles, such as efficient air conditioning and solar nanotechnology and integrations of the pods into the public transport network.
Mr van der Lee said excitement about RDM Groups’ revolutionary ‘Pod Zero’ was gaining international momentum after successful trials at Cenex in the UK.
“The Pod has two variants – four-seater and eight-seater – with an operating speed up to 24 kmh, multiple battery options up to eight hours or 80 kilometres, wheelchair accessibility, and air conditioning.
“Our pods operate autonomously through multiple sensor technologies, including stereo cameras, LiDARS (laser-based light detection and ranging sensors), odometry and ultrasonics.
“The operation of the Pods can be supervised externally, and there is Pod-to-Pod communication to allow for multiple Pod logistics solutions for warehouses, airports and other similar locations.”
Dave Keene, Chairman of RDM Group, concluded: “Establishing our base in Adelaide is hopefully a first step towards developing a bespoke assembly facility in South Australia that could potentially build hundreds of autonomous Pods every year and create tens of local jobs.
“This is a great example of innovation – developed in the UK – being exported all over the world and will hopefully put us on the international map for driverless vehicle technology.”
RDM Group is a member of the Australian Driverless Vehicle Initiative (ADVI).
AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEW: Roger Van der Lee RDM Group
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ABOUT RDM GROUP: RDM Group is a privately-owned company based in Coventry in the UK. With nearly 25 years’ experience in Tier 1 automotive technology and parts manufacturing for the vehicle industry, the company employs 65 people, with almost half of the workforce in technical roles.
RDM Group has established itself as a leading designer, developer and manufacturer of autonomous vehicles, including the LUTZ Pathfinder and Pod Zero range. The company boasts specialist skills in electronics, software, vehicle and safety engineering, and has an in-house Autonomous Control System development team.