HMI Technologies starts its third CAV trial with Autonobus tests in Melbourne


New Zealand-based ITS equipment developer HMI Technologies, which has branched out into the autonomous transport arena, has launched its third self-driving vehicle trial, with testing underway in Melbourne, Australia.

The trial will be an investigation into first-mile/last-mile transport solutions, taking place at La Trobe University, in partnership with a consortium including RACV, Keolis Downer, Vic Roads and ARRB (Australian Road Research Group).

HMI recently launched subsidiary Ohmio Automotion to manufacture its own connected autonomous vehicles (CAVs), with the Ohmio Hop being its first product. For the La Trobe trial, the company will supply one of its modified French-built Navya ARMA vehicles, managing operations and technical aspects of the project. The Autonobus will soon be connecting students and staff on the university campus to other transport network nodes, such as trams and buses.

HMI is also conducting CAV trials at Sydney’s Olympic Park, and Christchurch International Airport in New Zealand. Each trial will help to test legislation and the supporting infrastructure that are critical for the adoption of highly automated vehicles. At the recent ITS World Congress in Montreal, Canada, HMI signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with GoMentum Station and Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA), that will see the company testing its Ohmio autonomous shuttles at the Californian research facility. The three parties will work cooperatively on demonstration projects to advance both ITS and CAV technologies.

At the Congress, HMI also signed an agreement with Australian ITS provider Transmax, which supplies the STREAMS traffic management platform to states across Australia, with the two companies planning to share knowledge on traffic management platforms, ITS and CAVs.

“We are committed to developing technologies which deliver a safer, more efficient and sustainable transport future, and electric self-driving vehicles have amazing potential in that regard,” explained Dean Zabrieszach, HMI’s CEO.

“We regard our entrance into the AV space as a natural progression; combining our expertise in ITS technology with growing expertise in autonomous vehicles, we’re answering outstanding questions. We are again working with transport agencies, identifying the requirements to safely introduce these vehicles to public environments as soon as possible.”

Stuart Ballingall, VicRoads director of transport futures, said, “The trial will set the groundwork for the introduction of driverless vehicles. We hope to learn how this technology can be used while interacting with other road users, which will help to inform the development of a legal and regulatory framework for the safe introduction of automated vehicles across Victoria and Australia.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).