LUTZ project wins SMMT award

The LUTZ pod project has won the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) Award for ‘Automotive Innovation’. RDM Group, Transport Systems Catapult, Oxford’s Mobile Robotics Group (MRG) and Milton Keynes Council impressed judges with their pioneering work to deliver the UK’s first driverless vehicles.

Seating two people, the electric powered pods are capable of travelling 40 miles at a speed of up to 15mph and are set to be trialled on UK pavements in 2016.

David Keene, chief executive of RDM Group, said: “This is a massive achievement for the LUTZ project and underlines how our collaborative approach to a new transport solution is capturing the imagination both at home and overseas.

The SMMT Award for Automotive Innovation demonstrates the wealth of design and engineering talent in the UK automotive sector by rewarding the most groundbreaking concepts each year.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, added his support: “Technologies such as these represent a huge area of growth for the UK’s automotive industry, with the potential to deliver 300,000 new jobs within the next 15 years. This trial is not only an innovation in itself, but will also provide invaluable data, experience and learning for the whole sector.”

The first LUTZ Pathfinder pod is currently at Oxford MRG being fitted with its autonomous control system. The Milton Keynes trials are due to start in early 2016 – at first in manual mode, before being switched to automated driving. A trained human operator will remain in each pod for the duration of the trial, ready to take control of the vehicle if necessary.