Driverless cars to soon run on Dubai roads

Dubai, already home to the world’s tallest building, is looking to get ahead by getting out of the driver’s seat.

Dubai has adopted a smart self-driving transport strategy by which, 25 percent of all the vehicles by 2030.

Sheikh Mohammad said, ‘By 2030, 25 percent of all transportation trips in Dubai will be smart and driverless. The strategy is projected to generate economic revenues and savings of up to AED 22 billion a year.’

The project, he said, will be a joint venture between the Roads and Transport Authority and Dubai Future Foundation, with a strategy focusing on four pillars: Individuals, Technology, Policies and Legislations and Infrastructure.

EZ10 – the driverless shuttle – designed by French transport pioneer Easy Mile and with Dubai-based technology company Omnix, was inaugurated by the Crown Prince at the Dubai World Trade Centre Exhibition Halls as it drove a few 100 metres. The vehicle is designed to travel short distances on pre-programmed routes and under various environments, making it capable the UAE’s harsh weather conditions.

Dubai is home to a driverless Metro rail system. It also has a number of taxi companies, driven by a large foreign labor force. There was no discussion about what would become of the drivers.

Shaikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and Chairman of the Executive Council took a 10-seater driverless vehicle for its maiden trail run at the UITP MENA Transport Congress and Exhibition 2016.

The vehicle is fitted with all safety requisites and controls specifying its planned route, and the sensor system as well as the intelligent system of the vehicle, enable coping with any obstacles encountered en-route to avoid collision.

The vehicle is designed to travel short distances on pre-programmed routes and in various environments, making it capable of facing the UAE’s harsh weather conditions.

The Roads and Transport Authority is already in talks with numerous companies developing driverless vehicles and plans to start testing on Dubai’s roads as soon as possible. As a test bed Dubai has some unique characteristics. In addition to its new roads, some of which are up to 12 lanes wide, the country regularly gets very hot. There is little rain but seasonal, thick fog is often to blame for massive collisions.

Bahrozyan, the Dubai transportation official said, ‘Dubai has a number of taxi companies, driven by a large labor force from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and other mostly Asian countries, their jobs could be at risk further down the driverless road, although not immediately.’

Countries that are currently testing autonomous cars on public roads are United Kingdom, France, Switzerland and Four U.S. states Nevada, Florida, California and Michigan; in addition to the District of Columbia, have passed laws to address autonomous vehicles.

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About the Author: Akhtar Jamal

Tribune International