Dubai: Sheikh Mohammed issues new law on driverless vehicles; up to Dh50,000 fine announced for violators

The law specifies how speed limits are determined, how licences can be obtained, and how roads and routes are demarcated

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Published: Fri 14 Apr 2023, 6:46 PM

Last updated: Fri 14 Apr 2023, 10:20 PM

A new law in Dubai is set to regulate the operations of driverless vehicles in the emirate, it was announced on Friday.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, issued Law No. (9) of 2023 — which seeks to provide a regulatory environment that facilitates the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in transportation. It also aims to accelerate the emirate's smart mobility transformation and attract investments to the sector.


The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has been tasked to regulate the operations — from developing the strategy to identifying the categories of autonomous vehicles, and setting technical, operational and safety benchmarks.

The authority is also responsible for demarcating the roads, areas, and routes that driverless vehicles will be operating — setting their speed limits and providing the framework for managing other aspects of their operations.


Licences, penalties

The RTA will be issuing licences, which are mandatory when conducting any activity related to autonomous vehicles. The law also specifies the conditions for obtaining a licence for such activities. To register a driverless car, it will have to pass the authority's technical test and it should have the capability to read road signs.

Violators of the provisions of the law face fines between Dh500 and Dh20,000, which could be doubled in case of repeat violations in the same year. The maximum fine for violations is Dh50,000.

The new law also outlines licensing procedures, and the responsibilities of operators, agents and passengers. It also defines the obligations of operators of autonomous vehicles in case of accidents. Operators are responsible for covering all damages caused by accidents.

The sale and transfer of autonomous vehicles in Dubai should only be done through authorised agents. The transfer of vehicles from one operator to another is subject to RTA’s pre-approval.

Supporting RTA

According to the law, all relevant government entities in Dubai are required to cooperate with the RTA to help it deliver its responsibilities related to the autonomous vehicles sector.

Provisions of Federal Law No. (21) of 1995 Concerning Road Traffic, its executive regulations and amendments, relevant decisions and any other legislation that replaced them will continue to apply in areas that are not covered by a specific provision of the new law.

Any provision of other legislations that may conflict with the new law will be annulled. Law No. (9) of 2023 will be effective 90 days after its publication in the Official Gazette.

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