New Zealand-made driverless vehicle joins trial at Christchurch Airport

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Christchurch Airport in New Zealand will add a new locally-built self-driving bus to its trial of fully autonomous vehicles on the roads and car parks surrounding the airport.

The ohmio Lift has been designed to operate on repetitive routes, with mapping and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities that enable it to learn its course and improve performance. Multiple ohmio vehicles can also ‘platoon’ to form a connected convoy, making the ohmio vehicles as scalable and efficient as a tram system.

Stephen Matthews, chief executive, Ohmio Automation, said, “We are very excited to partner with Christchurch Airport. Its vision to realize the future allows us to demonstrate ohmio vehicles successfully operating as a first-mile/last-mile strategy in the airport context. We look forward to showcasing the Lift in a world premier event in the next few months.”

Michael Singleton, general manager corporate affairs, Christchurch Airport, said, “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.

“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 airport.

“Christchurch Airport’s growing reputation as a testbed for innovation, and in particular autonomy, is growing, because we combine the right physical environment for safe testing with understanding of technological advances,” Singleton said.

In early 2017, HMI Technologies, a provider of intelligent transport systems, began testing a 15-person autonomous shuttle bus from French manufacturer Navya on the airport grounds. The trial was the first step in the airport’s plans to eventually incorporate self-driving technology.

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Dan joined Passenger Terminal World in 2014 having spent the early years of his career in the recruitment industry. As assistant editor, he now produces daily content for the website and supports the editors with the publication of each exciting new issue. When he’s not reporting on the latest aviation news, Dan can be found apprehensively planning his next DIY project.

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