Robo-cabs coming to Dubai: How the ride works

Waheed Abbas/Dubai
Filed on April 12, 2021

When you hop into Cruise’s fully autonomous Origin taxis in Dubai in 2023, you won’t see a steering wheel or even pedals. With tablets and smart screens replacing a driver, just take your seat in the spacious cabin and off you go.

There will be a few of these robo-cabs in Dubai in two years, but by 2030, up to 4,000 such taxis will be transporting residents across the city.


>> Driverless ride-sharing in Dubai soon: All you need to know

“The introduction and operation of the vehicles will be gradual and begin in specific areas, scaling as the community experiences their safety and benefits first-hand. The vehicle will be fitted with state-of-the-art sensors to monitor road conditions, and controls to avoid collision with any objects — even with those the human eye cannot see,” said Mattar Mohammed Al Tayer, director-general and chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).

Artificial intelligence (AI) and petabytes of daily data are at the core of Cruise’s promise of a safer and ultimately better transport experience.

“Never blinking and always alert to what’s in front, behind, and all around it, the Origin will operate beyond human capabilities,” Cruise said on its website.

“Its multi-layered suite of sensors sees broader wavelength spectrums than humanly possible, and its AI processes decisions faster than the human brain. This will give the Origin the ability to see at night and through poor weather conditions while its self-driving technology improves with every drive.”

What to expect when hailing the cab

>> According to Cruise, customers will use a mobile app to request a ride, just like they use ride-sharing apps of Uber and Careem. The only difference is that customers will control the experience — their customised climate control and radio station settings will be sent to the vehicle ahead of when they access their ride.

>> Fleet operations will send a vehicle to a customer’s location for pickup and transport to the desired destination.

>> Inside the vehicle, passengers will find touch-screen tablets to access real-time information about the ride. The tablets will also remind passengers to close all doors and fasten their seat belts.

>> Passengers will be able to communicate with remote support personnel with the press of a button. Customers will be able to end the ride by pressing a button when they want it.

>> There’s another button for passengers to press if they want to end a ride because of an emergency. Support personnel can also contact vehicle passengers if he/she forgets an item in the vehicle at the end of a ride.

>> If a passenger forgets to close the door, the vehicle can close it itself and move on to the next customer.

>> The vehicles will accommodate hearing and visually impaired individuals so they can experience self-driving vehicle services too.

>> Cybersecurity protects the operation of the self-driving system and Cruise works with many third parties to maintain and advance cybersecurity capabilities.

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