The manufacturer of the UK’s first publically-demonstrated driverless vehicles, the RDM Group, is set to open its Asia-Pacific headquarters in Adelaide, with future plans to develop an assembly facility in South Australia.
The RDM Group has been leading the way in the production of autonomous vehicles within the L-SATS (low-speed autonomous transport system) sector with the development of the LUTZ Pathfinder Project’s autonomous ‘pods’, which were demonstrated on the streets of Milton Keynes in the UK last year. The company is set to open an office at Flinders University’s Tonsley campus in Adelaide, which will be responsible for purchasing, sales and technology support as part of the firm’s expansion into Australia and the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. The company has long-term plans to create a bespoke assembly facility in Adelaide, supplying vehicles to the APAC region. It has appointed a program director to oversee the set-up of its headquarters, develop a supply chain, and explore opportunities with the government, education and private sectors.
The announcement coincides with an overwhelming response to the South Australia Government’s A$10m (US$7.6m) Future Mobility Lab Fund, to boost local testing, research and development of connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) technologies. More than 40 applications worth more than A$20m (US$15.2m) were received for a share of the fund, which will be now assessed before the successful initiatives are announced.
South Australia’s Transport and Infrastructure Minister, Stephen Mullighan, said, “South Australia is being recognized as a national leader in future transportation systems and technologies, thanks to our innovative and collaborative approach to supporting the technology providers and developers. Since our landmark driverless car trials and demonstrations just over a year ago, the state government has led the nation in creating a legislative framework to support autonomous vehicle technology. I met with RDM in London last year and explained the strong position South Australia has to offer this new industry. RDM’s decision to open its Asia-Pacific headquarters in Adelaide is a resounding show of support for the South Australian Government efforts to stimulate this growing. Both this announcement and the overwhelming interest shown in the Future Mobility Fund are an indication that South Australia is in a unique position to leverage the potential of this burgeoning industry.”
The RDM Group’s CEO, David Keene, commented, “There is massive demand for creating autonomous mobility solutions in Australia, and we want to make sure our technology is at the forefront of any new developments. With this in mind, we feel the opportunity deserves a local presence and we are delighted to have taken a technical office at Flinders University, within the world-class Tonsley Innovation District. This will give us the base to develop an Australian supply chain and to explore new opportunities, with the longer-term plan to create a bespoke assembly facility in Adelaide that will supply vehicles direct to customers across the Asia-Pacific region. Our Adelaide office is the first step in a plan that will hopefully see us build a bespoke assembly facility where we can build hundreds of autonomous pods every year.”