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Israel's Mobileye, Dubai's Al Habtoor join hands on self-driving cars

Muzaffar Rizvi/Dubai
Filed on September 23, 2020 | Last updated on September 23, 2020 at 06.53 pm
Al Habtoor Group, Mobileye, robotaxis, UAE, Israel

Testing of the autonomous vehicles will begin in 2021 and a pilot programme is expected by the end of 2022. A commercial service is planned for 2023 with a target of a few hundred vehicles within five years.

Al Habtoor Group on Wednesday announced a partnership with Intel Corp's autonomous car division Mobileye to create a fleet of self-driving 'robotaxis' that could take to the streets of Dubai by the end of 2022.

The strategic cooperation between the Jerusalem-based company will bring mapping technologies for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), self-driving vehicles and smart city solutions to the UAE. Mobileye already has agreements to deploy its technology in cities in Japan, South Korea, France and Israel.

"Dubai is one of the most advanced cities in world and its a natural choice to launch the Mobileye's ADAS, autonomous driving and smart city solutions to the UAE," said Amnon Shashua, senior vice-president at Intel Corporation and President and CEO of Mobileye.

The companies intend to establish a long-term cooperation for the deployment of mobility solutions in the UAE based on Mobileye's autonomous vehicle (AV) technology. Vehicles equipped with Mobileye technology deployed in the region will harvest smart city data to help municipalities and businesses gain valuable insights while improving the safety of roads for citizens and laying the foundation for a future driverless Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) solution.

"I believe that the technology which is today made accessible to the UAE by this MoU between Al Habtoor Group and Mobileye will improve the quality of life for all UAE residents," said Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor, founding chairman of Al Habtoor Group.

The companies will start by equipping 1,000 cars with Mobileye's system to map Dubai and collect data.

Testing of the autonomous vehicles will begin in 2021 and a pilot programme is expected by the end of 2022. A commercial service is planned for 2023 with a target of a few hundred vehicles within five years.

"It's a multi-million dollar deal in the next year or two, and once mobility as a service is employed, the sky is the limit," said Shashua, declining to share specific financial details.

Shashua said they picked Habtoor because it offers "infrastructure, garages, maintenance, and can work with us on regulatory issues in Dubai".

Intel forecasts robotaxis will be a $160 billion market by 2030.

"This historic collaboration between Mobileye and Al Habtoor Group presents an opportunity to transform UAE cities by accelerating smart city development and advancing transportation services with cutting edge technology. The insights Mobileye mapping technology will unlock for Al Habtoor, combined future self-driving mobility solutions, together have the potential to greatly enhance the daily lives of citizens in the region," Shashua said.

Innovation steps:

The collaboration to advance smart city solutions and commercialise driverless mobility services in the UEA will contain four major innovation steps:

Smart City Solutions: Beginning in early 2021, Al Habtoor Group expects to equip vehicles with Mobileye 8 Connect, a collision avoidance system that collects valuable insights for safer driving, autonomous vehicle mapping and city planning. Through Mobileye's Road Experience Management (REM) technology, vehicles will become intelligent agents on the road, capable of harvesting important information to improve the efficiency of cities, the livelihood of citizens and the success of Al Habtoor businesses. The information will offer unique visibility into a wide range of issues, from road conditions and the status of assets to traffic jams and accident-prone areas.

AV Testing: Later in 2021, Mobileye-powered autonomous vehicles are expected to be deployed in Dubai to begin public-road testing, leveraging HD maps created and insights gained from the Al Habtoor fleets to prime the region for future driverless mobility solutions.

MaaS Testing: In 2022, Mobileye and Al Habtoor are expected to start an early-rider programme to test its MaaS offering. Mobileye will support Al Habtoor Group with the infrastructure of back-office, tele-operation and mobility intelligence, as well as final validation to prepare for a commercialized service.

Driverless MaaS Launch and Scaling: Building on insights gained during the first three phases of the collaboration, the parties will seek to jointly launch and commercialize a Mobileye-powered driverless mobility service for UAE consumers in 2023.  

muzaffarrizvi@khaleejtimes.com


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