Ohmio chief executive Stephen Matthews
New Zealand’s HMI Technologies is about to start building a prototype of its Ohmio Lift 20-seater autonomous vehicle that is designed to provide zeroemission travel around predetermined areas, the company said at the show.
The prototype is due to be available next year and HMI is also planning another vehicle, the Lift XT1, which will essentially link two Lift vehicles with a flexible connection, doubling its passenger capacity.
The vehicle is designed to be an ideal mode of transport for mixed-use areas such as university campuses or large residential complexes, said Dave Verma, Auckland-based HMI’s autonomous vehicles initiatives director. It will be equipped with a Lidar radar to prevent it from hitting pedestrians.
A built-in mapping capability means that the vehicle travels its predetermined route once and memorises it for future use.
The Lift prototype will be battery-powered and initial versions will have a maximum speed of 50km/h and several options for range, the smallest of those being around 164km.
The range depends on which type of batteries are selected for the vehicle; batteries are undergoing major
transformations at present, with their ‘power density’ rapidly increasing due to new technologies. Power output is expected to as much as triple within the next few years.
One of the expected advances is a composite battery/capacitor, to allow the power source to provide both the surges of power needed to get the vehicle up to the desired speed, then sustained power output for cruising speed.