Abu Dhabi: Free driverless bus service announced

It will seat seven people, and will stop at nine locations including Yas Island, Ferrari World and W Hotel


Nasreen Abdulla

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Photo by Shihab
Photo by Shihab

Published: Mon 10 Oct 2022, 3:28 PM

Last updated: Mon 10 Oct 2022, 5:52 PM

A new fully automated driverless minibus will be introduced in Abu Dhabi next month, to coincide with the F1 Grand Prix. A model of this minibus, operated by Txai, is on display at the Government of Abu Dhabi stand at Gitex Global.

“We have integrated a lot of digital maps, technologies, radar, LiDER and cameras to make this project a possibility,” said Sultan al Menhali, project manager of traffic systems at the Integrated Transport Centre (ITC).

The bus, which will be completely free of cost, will seat seven people and can accommodate a further four standing passengers. It will stop at 9 locations on the Yas Island, including W hotel, Yas Water World, Yas Marina Circuit and Ferrari World. A tram on wheels is also scheduled to start operation on Yas Island later this year.

Txai, the region’s first driverless taxi service, is equipped with hi-tech navigating tools and saw passengers transported between nine stops.

According to Sultan, the bus has been developed building on the company’s experience with the pilot-robo-taxi, which have been plying around Yas Island for almost a year now. “The taxis are driverless, but we have a safety officer manning it at all times,” he said. “In the last year, we have not had a single incident, so we are confident we can seamlessly integrate the buses into the current traffic situation at Yas Island.”

It was in March this year that the ITC announced that it had successfully concluded phase 1 of the pilot driverless taxi services in Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island. During phase 1, the service registered more than 16,000km and more than 2,700 passenger bookings. It can be hailed using a smart app.

According to officials, the ITC is responsible for establishing the necessary infrastructure for the use of self-driving vehicles within the transport network.


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