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Dubai is all set to launch its first fleet of 'self-driving taxis’ next year

04 July 2022

As announced by the Vice President, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the plan aims to make 25 percent of Dubai journeys to be driverless by 2030.

In early June, the Dubai Municipality announced that its Department of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) has already begun work on high-resolution digital maps to be used in self-driving vehicles.

self driving taxi

The former Director of GIS department and the current Director of Engineering and Planning, Mariam al-Mheiri, said that the maps will be used by companies that provide specialized solutions for self-driving vehicles, that are likely to constitute a high percentage of traffic in Dubai in the future.

Mheiri further said “We are currently working at the GIS department in Dubai, in coordination with partners and stakeholders, particularly the Dubai RTA, in order to promote the integration principles in preparation of high accuracy maps. This is to ensure their optimal implementation as per the specifications and need, so that map users get to enjoy optimal, unique experience.

Further, she noted that self-driving cars can navigate city streets, and other less crowded places by identifying pedestrians, other vehicles and other potential obstacles through Artificial Intelligence.

The CEO of RTA in Dubai, Ahmed Bahrozyan, when speaking to media about the project said that the services will begin towards end of 2023, with a limited number of self-driving vehicles, with upto 10 vehicles in the first phase, touching up to 4000 vehicles by 2030.

He further said all vehicles will be eco-friendly electric vehicles, which is inline with UAE’s goals to achieve net-zero and reduce carbon emissions.

This service will begin in Dubai, and spread to other emirates thereafter, with work currently in progress between the RTA and Dubai Municipality.

The booking and payment will be done through a special app meant for this type of technology, just as in electronic booking system for limousines or Hala Service.

According to Bahrozyan, when a customer wants to book a taxi, they just have to open the app, specify their location, and pick their destination. A vehicle from the closest car location will head to the customer’s location. The start and end of the journey will be present through the app. This is similar to Careem.

The self-driving vehicle will be designed to meet highest standards of safety as it works completely through artificial intelligence without any human intervention. It makes use of 100 sensors, radar and lidar systems, and cameras to create a 360degree view of the vehicle.

The vehicle is also equipped with latest communication devices, that allows a fleet of vehicles round-the clock, passenger communication in the event of any emergency or technical failure.

It is also hoped that this sort of driving will help reduce rate of traffic accidents as 90 percent of road accidents across the world happens due to human error.

Further, the vehicles also offer opportunity for people with special needs, children, and the elderly to move easily and safely within the city.

Robin Vinod

Writer/blogger who writes on topics such as travel, real estate, employment and everyday life on GCC countries.

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