This article was originally published by Christopher Carey on Cities Today, the leading news platform on urban mobility and innovation, reaching an international audience of city leaders. For the latest updates follow Cities Today on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube, or sign up for Cities Today News.
Autonomous vehicle company Cruise will launch its first international robotaxi service in Dubai, with plans to have up to 4,000 vehicles in operation by 2030.
The firm, which is backed by General Motors, will roll out taxi services in 2023, and establish a new Dubai-based company to handle the deployment.
The city wants 25 percent of all trips in Dubai completed via driverless modes of transportation by 2030.
RTA Director General, Mattar Mohammed Al Tayer, said: “Self-driving vehicles contribute to raising the level of traffic safety on the roads, as human error is the main cause of more than 90 percent of accidents.
“It is also distinguished by being environmentally friendly electric vehicles capable of serving a large segment of customers, specifically the category of senior citizens, residents and owners.”
In August 2020, Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and Dubai Air Navigation Services (DANS) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to exchange expertise on autonomous air vehicles.
This followed legislation introduced in February 2020 to make it easier for driverless vehicles to be tested on the emirate’s roads.
The city is expected to be the launch pad for commercial air taxis, with services projected to begin by 2022. It has carried out advanced tests with autonomous aerial vehicle companies such as Volocopter and EHang.
This is part of Dubai’s plan to reduce pollution and save transportation costs through the use of autonomous vehicles by 2030.
Abu Dhabi trials
In neighboring Abu Dhabi, driverless transport is also being trialed.
Transport chiefs in the emirate have claimed driverless taxis will be introduced this year, with the first phase of the project set to feature three self-driving vehicles providing free transport services from hotels, restaurants, shopping malls and offices at Yas Mall.
Ten more vehicles are expected to hit the roads for the second stage of the initiative, which will extend to locations across the UAE capital.
The service, free of charge in both phases, will be provided from 8am to 8pm.
Although the vehicles are driverless, a safety officer will be present in the driving seat during the pilot scheme to intervene in the event of any issues.
Abu Dhabi’s Integrated Transport Center will be responsible for establishing the necessary infrastructure for the use of self-driving vehicles within the transport network.
In July, the UAE ranked eighth in KPMG’s annual Autonomous Vehicles Readiness Index, performing well in technology infrastructure and the willingness of its people and government to embrace driverless cars.
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