RDM Group are helping the UK become a centre of excellence for the development and production of autonomous vehicles. A tier 1 supplier for high quality, innovative engineering solutions, RDM was formed back in 1993. Long providing critical solutions to the automotive industry it is again turning its attention to the very forefront of transportation. Developing the next generation of vehicles and testing the boundaries of machinery to design and manufacture Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs).
L-SATS (Low-Speed Autonomous Transport System) are seen to be the future of inner city transportation currently plagued with congestion. The “last mile” conundrum between transport hubs and residential areas is key to reducing this inner city congestion. RDM have lead the way developing these CAVs or Pods which can be used on public pavements, streets and on private land. The first of their kind, they are continually being developed by a team of expert SOLIDWORKS designers, engineers and technicians.
Manufacturing a fleet of 35 pods, RDM will start live trials on the pathways of Milton Keynes from May 2018 until the end of the year. One of the major causes of road accidents or accidents in general is human area and one of the biggest challenges RDM faced in the R&D stage was tracking and reacting to human behaviour.
RDM is driving this new technology through strong partnerships with many research institutes and international backers. Warwick University’s renowned WMG research centre, ARUP and Coventry University are all working with RDM to create the next revolution in transportation. The collaborative nature of SOLIDWORKS has meant RDM engineers and designers are able to communicate design ideas and data easily and securely.
Companies and organisations such as Ford, AXA and Jaguar Land Rover are all investing resources to bring autonomous vehicles to the UK roads. Not only are major brands supporting the production of driver-less technology but UK government are too. Targeting Britain to be at the forefront of this technology. Funding schemes such as Innovate UK allow opportunities to access government grants to fund design and development of new technology.
“The UK is one of the best countries for car makers and others to develop and test these technologies because of our:
- permissive regulations
- thriving automotive sector
- excellent research base and innovation infrastructure” – gov.uk
More information on government funding and opportunities within the Connected and Autonomous Vehicles sector can be found here.
As well as the U.K, globally these pods have gained a large interest, from holiday parks in Asia, university campuses in Australia to shopping centers and even airports as they are seen as a safe and coherent way to transport people and goods.
Image Source: RDM Group
Autonomous Pods, CAVs and How They Work
As technology is constantly developing and growing, autonomous pods are more and more possible. New technology has made these pods able to adapt to their surroundings using laser sensors around the vehicle. The autonomous system can adapt within fractions of a second. With a recent drive for advances in electrical vehicles on the road, these pods are also extremely eco-friendly. They do not produce any emissions.
To use one of the pods you are able to order one using an app from your mobile phone to request one and this will be able to see where you’re located and the app will then proceed to tell you how long the pod will take to arrive.
As for driving at night the PODs are equipped with night vision allowing them to see in the dark and detect motion. The sensors and cameras are filled with different receptors in order to avoid both stationary and moving obstacles making it safe to use in the dark.
Using SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD from the very beginning, RDM have been able to create many ideas and design iterations before committing to a full scale prototype. This includes the surface finishes and materials used as well as the mechanical workings. RDM are continually reviewing and developing this CAV technology. With SOLIDWORKS they have the flexibility to push the boundaries of what can be achieved. True market disruptors!
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