New Zealand Company HMI Technologies/Ohmio, signs US$20 Million investment deal with Chinese city, Heshan
 

HMI Technologies/Ohmio announces a US$20 Million investment agreement with the Heshan Industrial City Management Committee to establish an Ohmio manufacturing plant for Autonomous Vehicles and an Artificial Intelligence Transport Research Centre in the City of Heshan, China.

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The agreement was signed by Mohammed Hikmet, the founder and Chairman of HMI Technologies and its subsidiary, Ohmio Automotion Ltd, and the Deputy Director of the Heshan Industrial City Administration Committee, Wu Xiaoqing.

“This is another milestone for the success of Ohmio and another ‘vote of confidence’ in Ohmio, following the signing of the Solaseado MoU in Korea earlier in April”, Mohammed Hikmet said after signing the agreement.

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“Not only will Ohmio be able to meet its mass production requirements inside and outside of China, but this investment also adds a huge boost to our existing research activities in establishing an autonomous platform solution as part of an entire ecosystem”, said Dean Zabrieszach, CEO of HMI Technologies/Ohmio.

“New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development helped HMI Technologies/Ohmio to accomplish this agreement and without them it would have been very difficult to achieve what we have achieved today”, Hikmet said.

“The agreement sets the 1st of July as a starting date. There is a lot to do ahead of us, but we are so excited to start as soon as possible”, Zabrieszach said. “While the R&D centre in New Zealand will continue to be the main one, we look forward to the Heshan centre starting as soon as possible, under the supervision of our key technology and artificial intelligence leaders in the company.”

“Whilst this is an important milestone for the company, HMI Technologies/Ohmio regard it as a first step in the process of building the company as a global autonomous vehicle manufacturer. We will continue to work with NZTE, ATEED and MFAT to secure the company base in New Zealand and Australia, and to gain a foothold in other markets such as Europe and the US”, Hikmet said.

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Mahmood Hikmet
Largest global deal for the supply of autonomous shuttles with NZ company
 
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Today in Seoul the New Zealand company Ohmio Automotion Ltd (a subsidiary of the HMI Group) signed an agreement to supply 150 Ohmio autonomous shuttles to the Korean company, Southwest Coast Enterprise City Development Co Ltd (SolaSeaDo).

The agreement was signed by Mohammed Hikmet, the founder of HMI Group and its’ subsidiary, Ohmio Automotion Ltd, and SolaSeaDo President Yoon, Jin Bo. SolaSeaDo is in the advanced stages of securing a contract to build a large scale smart city in Korea and will know later this year if it has secured the contract for this development.

“This is a significant development for Ohmio and a major ‘vote of confidence’ in what we have developed”, Mohammed Hikmet said from Seoul where he signed the agreement. “The Ohmio LIFT™ is a wholly developed New Zealand autonomous shuttle. This commitment to source our vehicles for this Korean development is a great demonstration of what we can do in New Zealand” Hikmet said.

“I am not aware of any other commitment to deploy as many vehicles as this one. We think this is the largest single deployment of autonomous shuttles in the world,” said Dean Zabrieszach, CEO of HMI Technologies. “Of course, we will only know if this is going to happen if SolaSeaDo finalises the contract for this development. SolaSeado is very confident about that outcome, so we are very excited by this prospect”

The Ohmio LIFT is a 20-person shuttle that can be extended to carry up to 40-person (the Ohmio LIFT XT1) to operate on pre-determined routes without the need for a driver. It will provide services, similar to a tram, but with virtual rails. It is guided by a range of electronic systems.

Ohmio has been developed by HMI in Pakuranga, Auckland and launched 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. 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. We were proud to have made our first sale to Christchurch International Airport in March”, Hikmet said.

Hikmet said that there is a lot of international interest in Ohmio, having recently met with potential investors and customers in Asia and North America. “I am very excited by the strong level of interest we have had in both the USA and Asia. I expect this arrangement with SolaSeaDo will be the first of many to come”, Hikmet said.

 
Mahmood Hikmet
VIDEO: How Ohmio Uses AI for Autonomous Vehicle Localisation - AI-Day 2018
 

Ohmio Research and Development Coordinater, Mahmood Hikmet, gave a talk at the inaugral AI-Day 2018 on the 28th of March. Mahmood's talk covers how Ohmio's vehicles use sensor fusion to utilise many sensors at once for localisation. Also explained is how Ohmio's Artificial Intelligence team coordinates with the Ohmio Engineering team in order to implement solutions for autonomous vehicle development.

 
Mahmood Hikmet
Ohmio LIFT joins Christchurch Airport Trial
 
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New Zealand’s first on-road testing of fully autonomous vehicles will change up a gear later this year with the inclusion of the first locally designed and built vehicle.

The Ohmio LIFT will hit the road in a new phase of the trials on private roads at Christchurch Airport.

Ohmio Automation Chief Executive Stephen Matthews says this first build of the self-driving Ohmio LIFT is a significant milestone for the company.

“It is proof of our capability and realisation of our world-class driverless vehicle technology, pioneered in New Zealand,” he says. “We are very excited to partner with Christchurch Airport. Their vison to realise the future allows us to demonstrate Ohmio vehicles successfully operating as a first-mile last-mile strategy in the airport context. We have the vehicle, they have the roads where we can test safely and we look forward to showcasing the Lift in a world premier event in the next few months.”

Mr Matthews says the self-drive Ohmio vehicles are designed to operate on predetermined repetitive routes. The system created allows vehicles to be deployed quickly, with a mapping capability which means the vehicle can learn its course and improve performance using artificial intelligence [AI] to repeat the charted course over and over. Multiple Ohmio vehicles can also “platoon” forming a connected convoy, which makes Ohmio a scalable solution, responding to demand to operate as an efficient and safe virtual tram.

Christchurch Airport General Manager Corporate Affairs, Michael Singleton, says the second phase of the trial which began more than a year ago will allow the New Zealand vehicle to be proven and licenced.

“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,” he says.

“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 test bed for innovation, and in particular autonomy, is growing, because we combine the right physical environment for safe testing with understanding of technological advances,” he says.

 
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