UK autonomous vehicle designer and manufacturer RDM Group will use a $1 million South Australian Government grant to proceed with local trials of its autonomous mobility technology.
The company has already 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 by completing a $1.8m driverless cargo pod trial that will transport goods within 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.”
As part of its Adelaide 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.