Coventry firm in Las Vegas to unveil self driving pods that tells jokes


A Coventry technology specialist and a US-based automated mobility strategy team is teaming up with two global giants to showcase how self-driving pods can be used to deliver smart, on-demand, automated and zero carbon ‘last mile mobility’ solutions.

Aurrigo, which employs more than 80 people at its state-of-the-art engineering centre and three technical/sales offices in Australia, Canada and America, has been working with US firms Comet Mobility and Via to equip three ‘Pod Zeros’ with the latest Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology from a leading multinational technology specialist.

The Comet Mobility Experience, which is being part-funded by the UK’s Department for International Trade, Meridian and the Advanced Propulsion Centre, will be unveiled at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas between January 8 and 11 and will allow delegates to experience a 6 to 8-minute ride in an autonomous pod designed and built in the UK.

There will be three points of interest – the UK, New York and Las Vegas – and the riders will be asked to choose which location they want to go to first, allowing Pod Zero to make a real-time voice-activated decision about where to go, leveraging on-demand ridesharing technology developed by Via.

During the journey riders can ask questions about weather, destinations, the partners behind the project and discuss general knowledge or even ask the pod to tell it a joke, all using a specially crafted Artificial Intelligence platform.

“This is the first time our autonomous pods have been equipped with the latest AI technology, which has been designed to learn more with less data,” explained Miles Garner, Sales and Marketing Director for Aurrigo, the autonomous vehicle division of RDM Group.

“The idea behind the project is to highlight how UK and US firms can collaborate to create a smart, automated and zero carbon ‘last mile mobility’ solution. Delegates will see how self-driving pods can provide a practical, safe and enjoyable experience that is truly

immersive and educational.”

He added: “This technology is ideal for tourists, corporate users, shopping centres promoting the latest offers and even university campuses that are notoriously difficult to navigate.

“Teaming up with Comet Mobility and aligning with Via is a major milestone for our business and highlights how far we have come with our autonomous pods and software platforms. CES is the biggest innovation show in the world and a fantastic showcase for this partnership.”

Three Pod Zeros have been built for use at CES, with one carrying the ‘GREAT’ Campaign branding to promote the UK and the other two carrying partner liveries.

They seat up to four people, can travel at 15 mph and cover up to 60 miles on one charge, recently playing the lead role in UK Autodrive, the world’s largest multi-connected and autonomous vehicle demonstration.

The UK’s International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox MP said: “The showcase of smart, automated vehicles at CES is the result of a groundbreaking transatlantic collaboration and I’m pleased my international economic department was able to help make it possible.

“Thanks to the work of trailblazing British companies like Aurrigo, the UK will remain at the forefront of the design and manufacture of zero-emission, connected and autonomous vehicles, ensuring we seize the opportunities presented by the transformation of mobility.”

Daniel Ruiz, Chief Executive of Meridian, said: “The UK is amongst the world leaders in the development of Connected and Autonomous Vehicles. Our exceptional R&D environment and strong ecosystem bring together best-of-breed capabilities across the AI, cyber-security and automotive sectors.

“Together with our international partners, the UK is driving the mobility revolution. Meridian has been delighted to work with our partners to bring the Comet Mobility Experience to life, showcasing the value of collaboration in delivering autonomous mobility to the real world.”

Matthew Lesh, Principal of Comet Mobility, added: “We are pleased to host the Aurrigo driverless pod demonstrations in the US for the first time and look forward to painting a vision of practical, on-demand, purpose-built, self-driving mobility.

“Providing our partners with a platform to showcase their world-class technologies is an important step in deploying automated mobility.”