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Driverless car tested on Dubai-Abu Dhabi road trip

Sarwat Nasir /Dubai
Filed on November 27, 2019 | Last updated on November 27, 2019 at 05.43 am
Authorities, test, driverless car, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, road trip, Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology, Esma,

(Alamy Image)

Self-driving cars could hit roads by 2021.

With self-driving vehicles likely to hit UAE highways soon, the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (Esma) recently sent a Mercedes driverless car on a road test from Dubai to Abu Dhabi to see how it would fare when faced with usual challenges, such as hot weather conditions and everyday traffic movements.

"We did it last month to know how it reacts when it is used in summer. We tested the vehicle on a regular environment of driving. We were driving on a normal road, not a testing track.

"We faced challenges that any kind of car would face - another car coming in front of you, braking in front of you, going higher and lower speeds. So, we were testing the reaction of the AV (autonomous vehicle)," Abdulla Abdulqader Al Maeeni, director-general of Esma, told Khaleej Times on the sidelines of the fifth annual Future Mobility Conference on Tuesday, November 26.

For several years, the UAE has been carrying out test drives of AVs and working out the rules and regulations required so motorists can begin using them on the roads.

Now, the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (Esma) has created a draft law that proposes several regulations, and this could be adopted "very soon" once it has been reviewed by all stakeholders this week, the top official said.

Al Maeeni revealed that the draft law will be discussed in detail with other stakeholders on Wednesday, during the second day of the conference.

These entities - including government departments, manufacturers, and representatives from the technology departments of car companies - will share their views on what alterations or additional points can be added before the draft is submitted for approval.

"This is one of the aims of this conference, which is to overcome the challenges we face with implementing autonomous vehicles and find solutions. What we are seeing is that once we issue the regulations, we'll find out what other regulations are needed," he said.

"We are talking about regulations related to insurance, to traffic departments, registration, technical requirements, connectivity, safety and security issues of these cars."

Al Maeeni was recently quoted by the Emirates News Agency as saying that self-driving cars could hit roads by 2021.

Some road challenges for self-driving vehicles

(Tested during the Esma drive last month)

>Hot weather conditions

>A car coming in front

>A vehicle braking suddenly

>Cars going on higher and lower speeds

'Eco-mobility can change the world'

Another focus of the fifth annual Future Mobility Conference on Tuesday was on electric vehicles (EV), with car manufacturers such as Porsche, Mercedes, Chevrolet, Jaguar Land Rover and BMW showcasing their EVs.

Nicolas Fleury, deputy secretary-general of the International Organisation for Standardization (ISO), highlighted how the world must come together and work on eco-friendly mobility standards that can "change the world".

"Mobility impacts every moment of our lives, transforms our lives and shapes the world around us. As we look at the challenges and opportunities from new technologies to growing organisation and climate change, we should bear in mind that cooperation, collaboration and consensus provide much greater results than the sum of its parts," he said.

"Without global collaboration we won't be able to respond to major challenges such as the impact of climate change and this is why international standards like mobility can change the world. I strongly believe that standards must play an essential role in supporting those technologies and ways of working."

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