UK Autodrive partners RDM Group used this week’s Cenex Low Carbon Vehicle (LCV) event to successfully demonstrate one of their self-driving ‘pod’ vehicles in fully autonomous mode.
The Coventry-based company is set to supply up to 40 pod vehicles for the UK Autodrive programme and chose the low carbon technology event at Millbrook, Bedfordshire, as a fitting occasion for showcasing their fully electric ‘Pod Zero’.
“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 company founder David Keene, as the four-seater vehicle completed a series of loops within the LCV demonstration area.
“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.”
Another RDM pod vehicle was meanwhile used inside the venue, as part of a UK Autodrive exhibition stand which provided LCV delegates with information about the project throughout the two days of the event.
As well as trialling the use of self-driving pavement-based pods as a form of future public transport, UK Autodrive will also trial regular road-based cars equipped with connected and autonomous technology, and all three of the major car manufacturers involved in the programme (Ford, Jaguar Land Rover and Tata Motors European Technical Centre) were also at LCV, showcasing their individual developments in the field of low carbon vehicle technology.
Several UK Autodrive member organisations also provided expert speakers for the event, most notably during the second day’s opening session on Connected and Autonomous Vehicles, when speakers from RDM, HORIBA MIRA and the Transport Systems Catapult made up three quarters of the expert panel – alongside Michael Talbot, Head of Strategy at the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles.
Other talks by UK Autodrive project members included a presentation on the UK Automotive Council’s technology roadmaps for intelligent and connected vehicles by Ford’s David Skipp and an insight into Milton Keynes ultra-low carbon experiences provided by Milton Keynes Council’s Head of Transport Innovation, Brian Matthews.
Presentation slides from this year’s event will be available from the Cenex LCV website from next week.