Dubai to become first city outside US to operate driverless vehicles

Dubai - The plan is to have 4,000 self-driving vehicles by 2030.

By Web report

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Published: Mon 12 Apr 2021, 2:12 PM

Last updated: Mon 12 Apr 2021, 6:28 PM

Dubai will become the first city outside the US to operate driverless vehicles, the Emirate's Crown Prince has said.


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The plan is to have the first few self-driving vehicles by 2023, which will go up to 4,000 by 2030.

This came as Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, met Jeff Bleich, former US Ambassador and Chief Legal Officer of autonomous vehicle company Cruise, which signed an agreement with Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority on Monday.

Taking to Twitter, the Crown Prince said the partnership would make Dubai the first city outside of the USA to operate self-driving cruise vehicles.

This is in fulfilment of the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to make Dubai the best city to live and work in, he added.

"Our goal is to convert 25 per cent of the total transportation in Dubai into self-driving trips through various means of transportation by 2030,” said Sheikh Hamdan.

The Crown Prince also detailed how "Dubai's vision for the future of self-driving" would benefit both the economy and the environment substantially.

"Dubai's vision for the future of self-driving aims to reduce transportation costs by Dh900 million annually, saving Dh1.5 billion by reducing environmental pollution by 12% annually," he said.

It also aims to achieve Dh18 billion in economic revenues every year by increasing the efficiency of the transport sector by 2030, he added.

'No light selection process'

Cruise will be the exclusive provider of driverless cabs and ride-hailing services in Dubai until 2029. Under the agreement, it will establish a new local Dubai-based company which will be fully responsible for the deployment, operation and maintenance of the fleet.

Founded and headquartered in San Francisco in 2013, Cruise’s self-driving vehicles are built at an assembly plant in Michigan, which spans an area of 75 football fields and employs 1,800 people.

Cruise’s autonomous cars generate zero emissions, tend to eliminate human driver error with zero car crashes, with no congestion and no hassle for parking.

It recently signed an agreement with Microsoft to accelerate the commercialisation of self-driving vehicles, bringing together their software and hardware capabilities, cloud-computing and manufacturing know-how.

“The selection of Cruise was not taken lightly. We engaged in a comprehensive, multi-year process to choose the best possible partner. Cruise’s technology, resources, purpose-built vehicle, automaker partnerships, approach to safe testing and deployment and strategy give them the ability to launch safely and faster than any other company,” said Mattar Mohammed Al Tayer, director-general and chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the RTA.

Cruise’s partnership with auto manufacturing giants gives them the ability to build their self-driving cars on standard production lines, which will ensure the highest performance and safety standards.

Dan Ammann, CEO of Cruise, said their self-driving fleet “will make transportation safer, a better experience, more affordable and better for the planet”.

“Dubai and the RTA are leading the way in making this a reality for their people, and for people everywhere,” said Ammann.

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Photo: HamdanMohammed/Twitter
Photo: HamdanMohammed/Twitter

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