Self-driving electric shuttles to be made in Christchurch

Ohmio

The New Zealand manufacturer of autonomous shuttles is planning to launch several variations later this year.

Self-driving electric vehicles will be made in Christchurch following the launch of a new company. 

Ohmio Automation, a subsidiary of HMI Technologies, launched its driverless shuttles at the Christchurch Art Gallery on Tuesday.

Executives and staff from the Auckland-based company made their presentation to invited guests, civic dignitaries, and a group of school children.

Ohmio Shuttles on Tuesday announced they would be making self-driving electric shuttles in New Zealand.
SUPPLIED

Ohmio Shuttles on Tuesday announced they would be making self-driving electric shuttles in New Zealand.

The shuttles may not be used on city roads for many years but would be for more controlled environments like retirement villages, airports, or the campus of a business or educational facility.

READ MORE:
First New Zealand autonomous vehicle demonstration kicks off at Christchurch Airport 
Shared electric cars on the horizon for Christchurch residents
Why Mazda doesn't want to to make you an autonomous vehicle
What will get people to trust self-driving cars?

HMI Technologies chief executive Stephen Matthews said the shuttles were designed to be a "last mile solution" to carry people and luggage short distances or provide the last mile connection to or from transport hubs.

Sophie Bourke and her schoolmates from Ohoka were at the Christchurch Art Gallery for a ride in a computer-controlled ...
CHRIS HUTCHING/STUFF

Sophie Bourke and her schoolmates from Ohoka were at the Christchurch Art Gallery for a ride in a computer-controlled shuttle. She thinks her generation will benefit from development of driverless cars and the environmental benefits they may bring.

Four models are planned for production in the next year, ranging from small shuttles and freight pods to larger vehicles. 

The shuttles have self-mapping artificial intelligence, which means once they have driven a route under supervision they can remember the way and drive it autonomously. 

Several shuttles can also be linked up to form a convoy, allowing the vehicles to be scaled depending on need.

Matthews said HMI was motivated to create Ohmio by the idea people might no longer need to rely on their private vehicles, which would reduce congestion, pollution and crashes and make the community better off. 

Ad Feedback

HMI founder Mohammed Hikmet said being based in New Zealand offered a formidable advantage as the Government already allowed testing of autonomous vehicles.

"New Zealand has a reputation for innovation and that has also helped us recruit international expertise."

The fleet will range from small shuttles and freight pods to larger vehicles.
SUPPLIED

The fleet will range from small shuttles and freight pods to larger vehicles.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said Christchurch was seizing the opportunity to become a "testbed for emerging technologies".

"We won't be swamped by disruption. We will embrace it, learn from it and turn it on its head," she told guests.

HMI already has three autonomous vehicles trials under way in New Zealand and Australia, including one at Christchurch Airport

The New Zealand-based company has been developing intelligent transport systems for 15 years.

Matthews said the company was looking for suitable Christchurch premises to set up a manufacturing base for the new vehicles.

 - Stuff

Comments

Ad Feedback
special offers
Ad Feedback