UK: Milton Keynes chooses RDM for driverless pods

MK pod

The appearance of self-driving vehicles on the pavements of Milton Keynes has moved a step closer to reality following the unveiling of Coventry-based RDM Group as the manufacturer of the futuristic LUTZ Pathfinder pods.

RDM was appointed by project managers Transport Systems Catapult (TSC) following an open OJEU tender process which attracted a total of five bids.

RDM and TSC will now work together with Oxford University’s Mobile Robotics Group (MRG) to create three electric-powered pods that are set to be tested on the pavements of Milton Keynes next year.

The self-driving pods are part of the TSC’s Low Carbon Urban Transport Zone (LUTZ) Pathfinder programme which is studying the feasibility of autonomous and on-demand vehicles. Carrying up to two passengers, and with a top speed of around 12 kilometres per hour (7 m.p.h.), the pavement-based pods are intended to increase the number of mobility options available to the public, while also reducing congestion and carbon emissions.

RDM is scheduled to complete the manufacture of the first pod by the end of this year, allowing the Oxford University robotics experts to install their technology and begin test-track trials in early 2015.

Once these trials are completed, the pods will be ready for testing in public on the pavements of Milton Keynes. With safety issues of paramount importance throughout the duration of the assessment programme, the three pods will continue to be manned by trained human operators.

Source: RDM