Driverless shuttle factory for NZ

Ohmio Automotion will start manufacturing self-driving vehicles in New Zealand it has been announced this week

Driverless shuttle factory for NZ
Electric Ohmio Hop shuttles will be on the streets of New Zealand by 2019

The company showcased three shuttle buses which feature self-driving vehicle technology developed by HMI Technologies in New Zealand recently.

Fully operational prototypes of the electric Ohmio Hop shuttles carried passengers including school children as they performed on a circuit around the Christchurch Art Gallery.

Ohmio claims to be one of the first companies whose shuttles can form a connected convoy. A connected convoy can move extremely efficiently and safely together in formation.

Ohmio vehicles include self-mapping artificial intelligence. Once they have completed their route once, they are able to self-drive the route over and over. The importance of this ability is that the vehicles can be quickly deployed and relocated as required.

All models will be built around technology developed by parent company HMI Technologies, which specialises in Intelligent Transport Systems.

HMI has been developing and manufacturing ITS solutions for 15 years. Its technology includes electronic signs, sensors and software for monitoring transport to aid management of urban and rural transport environments.

HMI Technologies founder Mohammed Hikmet says being in New Zealand offers the company an advantage.

"The testing and deployment of autonomous vehicles elsewhere is slowed down by legislation or requires special permits. Here in New Zealand, the government already allows for testing of driverless vehicles," he says.

Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel is excited by the Ohmio technology and what it will mean for the city's future direction.

"We are seizing the opportunity to become a testbed for emerging technologies," she says.

"We won't be swamped by disruption, we will embrace it."

The vehicles will range in size from small to large shuttles and freight pods and customisable vehicles. A range of four Ohmio models is planned for production before 2019.



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