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Kiwi company inks agreement

An Ohmio autonomous bus outside the Christchurch Art Gallery.

New Zealand autonomous vehicle developer Ohmio Automotion may just have scored the largest deal for autonomous shuttle vehicles in the world.

Ohmio has initiated an agreement to supply 150 shuttles to Korean company Southwest Coast Enterprise City Development (SolaSeaDo) in South Korea.

However, the agreement is dependent on SolaSeaDo securing a deal to build a large-scale smart city in Korea. SolaSeaDo is in the advanced stages of securing that contract and will know later this year if it has been successful.

“This is a significant development for Ohmio and a major vote of confidence in what we have developed,” Hikmet said.

The Ohmio LIFT is a 20-person autonomous shuttle that can be extended to carry up to 40-passengers and operates on pre-determined routes without a driver. The offering will provide services similar to a tram, but with “virtual rails” and guided by a range of electronic systems.

Ohmio has been developed by HMI in Auckland, launching the first demonstration in Christchurch last September, using prototype vehicles to showcase the technology of driverless automated shuttles and the robotic technologies that underpin them.

“These first vehicles were to show we had developed the know-how to build an autonomous vehicle,” Hikmet said.

“Since then we have been developing the Ohmio LIFT, a vehicle that we expect will be used in a range of environments such as airports, business parks and central city areas.”

Ohmio’s first sale was to Christchurch International Airport in March.

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