Dubai RTA tests driverless taxis in the Jumeirah area, safety drivers present

The driverless taxis now cruising the streets of Dubai in the Jumeirah 1 area remain in the trial phase. During this testing period, passengers are not permitted to use the service, and a safety driver continues to occupy the driver's seat as a precautionary measure. These trials represent a significant milestone in Dubai's journey toward implementing autonomous transportation solutions, and they are a testament to the city's commitment to pioneering innovative mobility options.

Dubai Begins Driverless Taxi Trials in Jumeirah 1 Area

Significant progress is being made toward Dubai's goal of fully driverless public transit. The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is testing taxis without human drivers in the Jumeirah 1 neighborhood. Still under development, passengers are not yet welcome, and a human safety driver always stays behind the wheel while testing autonomous vehicles.

Pioneering autonomous transportation

Among the RTA's long-term goals is to make Dubai a regional leader in autonomous vehicle technology, so it sees these trials as an important first step toward reaching that goal. The RTA and Cruise, a GM subsidiary specializing in autonomous driving technologies in the United States, are responsible for these initiatives. This promising new advancement is the result of extensive data collection and testing on closed tracks.

Limited Passenger Access Soon

Even though these driverless taxis won't be allowed to transport paying customers during the testing phase of the project, a limited group of people will be able to ride in them by the end of the year. In the latter part of the year 2024, the RTA intends to launch full-scale commercial operations for these vehicles.

Fare Structure and Expansion Plans

The Cruise taxis, operated by US-based autonomous technology company Cruise, have a capacity of up to three passengers. While the official fares have not been confirmed, there are suggestions that the pricing will be aligned with Dubai's limousine taxis, which usually cost around 30% more than standard taxi fares. This approach aims to provide competitive pricing for autonomous taxi services in the city, ensuring accessibility and affordability for passengers.

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has ambitious ambitions to deploy about 4,000 driverless cabs across Dubai by the year 2030. In the following year, the RTA expects to expand its fleet of driverless taxis in the Jumeirah region. This is in line with the Smart Self-Driving Transport Strategy, which aims to make intelligent and driverless experiences available for one-fourth of all mobility travel in the city by the year 2030.

Cutting-Edge Technology and Collaboration

Cruise's driverless ride-hailing services have been in operation in the United States since February 2022. To assess the technology's reliability and suitability for deployment in Dubai, the Roads and Transport Authority's (RTA) technical team conducted test rides with Cruise vehicles during a visit to San Francisco. This hands-on experience confirmed the RTA's confidence in the autonomous technology's capabilities and safety measures.

These journeys demonstrated the RTA's confidence in the technology's safety and performance. The vehicles themselves are Chevrolet Bolt models, fully electric and emission-free, equipped with a suite of sensors, including LiDAR, cameras, and radars, to detect and navigate objects and pedestrians on the streets.

With these advancements, Dubai takes a bold step towards becoming a hub for autonomous transportation in the region, showcasing its commitment to innovation and smart mobility solutions. As driverless technology continues to mature, the city positions itself as a pioneer in the adoption of this cutting-edge approach to transportation.

Read also: Dubai introduces new luxury airline to start operations from November

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