RDM marks Milton Keynes’ 50th birthday with UK’s first ever autonomous passenger journey
RDM Group delivered a perfect 50th birthday present to Milton Keynes yesterday when it chose the town to stage its first fully autonomous journey with passengers.
The Coventry-based company, which has just announced the launch of its first international operation in South Australia, used its ‘Pod Zero’ driverless vehicle to transport journalists from the BBC and ITV around the Centre MK as part of TV coverage throughout the day.
Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport, was also in attendance to mark the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy and he experienced for the first time a ride in RDM’s innovative autonomous vehicle which was being demonstrated for the first time in a UK shopping centre.
Miles Garner, Sales and Marketing Director, commented: “This was a great opportunity to celebrate Milton Keynes’ big birthday with a difference and fitted perfectly with the town’s appetite to be at the forefront of driverless vehicle technology.
“Up to 40 of our self-driving pods will be operating on pavements here as part of UK Autodrive by Summer 2018 and our involvement in this project has given us the knowledge to develop our own range of vehicles called ‘Pod Zero’, which we plan to sell all over the world.”
He continued: “We hope it provided a perfect birthday present for Milton Keynes. I just wonder what form of transport solution we will be trialling when it celebrates its 100th!”
Mr Grayling said: “This is a really good bit of innovation and I think it’s also the future of transport, because it’s going to create so many opportunities. “It can help with tackling congestion in our cities, and, for some of the elderly who may be struggling to drive the way they used to, I think it’s going to be a godsend.”
RDM’s ‘Pod Zero’ has a top speed of 15mph off highway, an operational range of 60 miles and comes in four & eight-seater variants.
It is attracting the global attention of local authorities, universities, airports, theme parks and shopping centres keen to explore possible ‘first and last mile’ transport solutions.