Dubai has announced plans to begin trials of driverless taxis and e-Hail services by the end of 2022.
The Roads and Transport Authority announced the start of trials and preparations of digital maps needed for Cruise autonomous vehicles by the end of this year, in preparation for the 2023 actual service launch.
The RTA has signed a partnership agreement with the Cruise Company, a majority-owned autonomous vehicle subsidiary of General Motors, to operate Cruise autonomous vehicles in the Emirate. The company would offer taxi and e-Hail services in the Emirate. Dubai would be the first city to operate Cruise autonomous vehicles outside the US.
A limited number of Cruise autonomous vehicles will be deployed in 2023, with plans to increase the number of deployed vehicles to reach 4,000 by 2030, stated RTA in a press release.
Mattar Mohammed Al Tayer, director-general, chairman of the board of executive directors of the RTA announced the start of trials and preparations of digital maps needed for deploying these vehicles by the end of this year.
The partnership agreement was signed per directives issued by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council.
Al Tayer met with a delegation from the Cruise Company headed by Anthony Gregory, vice-president of market development, Cruise, USA, where the latest developments relating to operating Cruise autonomous vehicles in providing taxi and e-Hail services were discussed.
Discussions also covered the supply of vehicles, operations, the latest developments of operating autonomous vehicles in San Francisco State, and the production of Cruise Origin autonomous vehicles.
“This initiative enhances Dubai’s pioneering role in self-driving transport. It is an important step towards realising Dubai Smart Self-Driving Transport Strategy aimed to transform 25 per cent of total mobility journeys in Dubai into journeys on various self-driving transport modes by 2030,” said Al Tayer.
“Cruise autonomous is a vehicle dedicated to shared driverless transport,” he said.
“The operation of autonomous vehicles contributes to the integration of transport systems by easing the mobility of public transport riders and helping them reach their final destinations,” Al Tayer added.
The agreement fits well with RTA’s first and last-mile strategy approved last year relating to the first and last sectors of journeys from and to the nearest public transport points. “It consists of two sections: groups and individuals,” explained Al Tayer.
“The spread of autonomous vehicles marks a quality shift in public transportation systems. It is associated with innovative solutions for facilitating mobility, easing city congestion, and boosting road traffic safety levels,” he stated.
Human errors are responsible for more than 90 per cent of accidents. Autonomous vehicles are environmentally friendly electric vehicles and can serve considerable numbers of customers, particularly senior citizens, residents, and people of determination.
The delegation of Cruise visited some areas in Dubai to study the best locations for launching the first-of-its-kind service based on some technical standards highlighted by the preparedness of the infrastructure and the anticipated demand. The delegation signed the service operational framework, and detailed provisions agreed to with RTA.
To ensure the operation of the service next year, RTA a broad kick-off meeting that brought together the delegation of Cruise with officials from the Dubai Police General HQ, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, and the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology.
The gathering discussed the technical details relating to the operation of such vehicles along with the key enablers that include specifications, standards and the required infrastructure.