Safety a roadblock for self-driving cars in Dubai?
Among the four parameters, technology comes as the least concern, followed by legislation.
Safety and infrastructure are two of the main concerns by the public when it comes to self-driving transport. This is based on an informal audience survey at the ongoing Dubai World Congress for Self-Driving Transport.
Among the four parameters - technology, safety, infrastructure and legislation - safety and infrastructure are on an even keel while technology comes as the least concern, followed by legislation.
Visitors and participants at the two-day congress, organised by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) which opened on Tuesday, were asked to vote by dropping a ball in each container labeled with the four themes concerning autonomous vehicles (AV).
Speaking to Khaleej Times, Pakistani expat and Dubai resident Ahmed Khalil said his biggest concern is safety. "There is still a lot of education to inform the public about AV safety. Maybe you are driving a self-driving car but the driver behind or beside you is not, and he/she is not aware of it and bumps into you and that will cause an accident."
Indian expat Rahul Kapur, for his part, believes that fail-safe infrastructure should be put in place first. "Safety will follow once the infrastructure such as dedicated lanes, special roads are wireless technology are in place," he explained.
All issues regarding autonomous cars will be tackled at the The Dubai World Congress for Self-Driving Transport. Leading companies, universities and research centres will carry out self-driving scenarios and applications in Dubai. The event will also discuss the expansion of using self-driving transport in various modes and encourages firms and institutions to cope with the existing challenges such as the use of public transport, and the first and last-mile challenge.
The RTA likewise will likewise honour winners of Dubai World Self-Driving Transport Challenge, the first of its kind in the world and the most sophisticated across the industry.
The challenge attracted 65 global firms and academic institutions. Five leading firms qualified for final tests namely: Navya, EasyMile and Gaussin from France, Westfield in the UK, and 2getthere from the Netherlands. Three start-ups made their way to the finals: Sensible4 from Finland, Derq from the UAE, and IAuto from Taiwan. Three global universities were selected: Freie Universität Berlin from Germany, Intelligent Systems Lab (LSI) from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain and University of Technology Sydney, Australia. Qualified local universities included Dubai University, UAE University, Al Ain University of Science and Technology, and Abu Dhabi University.
"Hosting the Dubai World Congress for Self-Driving Transport and the accompanying exhibition, for the first time in the Middle East, is part of RTA's efforts to support the Dubai Self-Driving Transport Strategy unleashed by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The strategy aims to make 25% of all trips in Dubai smart and driverless by 2030. It also enhances the leading role of Dubai in the self-driving transport field," said Mattar Al Tayer, director-general and chairman of the board of executive directors of the RTA.