New Zealand's first on-road testing of fully autonomous vehicles
will change up a gear later this year with the inclusion of the
first locally designed and built vehicle.
The ohmio LIFT™ will hit the road in a new phase of the trials
on private roads at Christchurch Airport.
Ohmio Automation Chief Executive Stephen Matthews says this
first build of the self-driving ohmio LIFT is a significant
milestone for the company.
"It is proof of our capability and realisation of our
world-class driverless vehicle technology, pioneered in New
Zealand," he says. "We are very excited to partner with
Christchurch Airport. Their vison to realise the future
allows us to demonstrate ohmio vehicles successfully operating as a
first-mile last-mile strategy in the airport context. We have the
vehicle, they have the roads where we can test safely and we look
forward to showcasing the Lift in a world premier event in the next
Mr Matthews says the self-drive ohmio vehicles are designed to
operate on predetermined repetitive routes. The system created
allows vehicles to be deployed quickly, with a mapping capability
which means the vehicle can learn its course and improve
performance using artificial intelligence [AI] to repeat the
charted course over and over. Multiple ohmio vehicles can
also "platoon" forming a connected convoy, which makes ohmio™
a scalable solution, responding to demand to operate as an
efficient and safe virtual tram.
Christchurch Airport General Manager Corporate Affairs, Michael
Singleton, says the second phase of the trial which began more than
a year ago will allow the New Zealand vehicle to be proven and
"Our joint fully autonomous vehicle trial continues, with the
ohmio LIFT proving this country is able to design and construct a
vehicle made for our conditions," he says.
"Collaborating with ohmio means we have a technology partner and
producer which is able to take the learnings from the trial to date
and then adapt and enhance the vehicle to New Zealand needs. The
focus of the trial remains on autonomy rather than a particular
vehicle, and we look forward to continuing to explore how
autonomous shuttles might play a part in our future at our
"Christchurch Airport's growing reputation as a test bed for
innovation, and in particular autonomy, is growing, because we
combine the right physical environment for safe testing with
understanding of technological advances," he says.