Dubai debuts driverless minibus

Dubai debuts driverless minibus

September 03, 2016

DUBAI has unveiled its first driverless bus service, launching a month-long trial period for the electric vehicle with a view to expanding it across the futuristic Gulf city state. The 10-seat vehicle made its first trip on Thursday along a 700-meter (2,300-foot) stretch of road in downtown Dubai, near to the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower.

Developed jointly by French group Easy Mile and Dubai-based Omnix, the minibus is powered by an electric motor and can hit speeds of 40 km per hour (25 miles per hour).

But, thanks to cutting-edge guidance technology, its developers say the bus can adapt its speed to the surrounding environment and even come to a complete halt if a pedestrian were to cross its path.
It can be programmed to navigate between Dubai’s main tourist attractions, including the Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Mall, Dubai Opera and the Souk Al-Bahar shopping center, the emirate’s Road Transport Authority (RTA) said in a statement.

Thursday’s test run was “the first and very important stage in our efforts to introduce this type of vehicle into Dubai’s transport network,” RTA official Ahmed Bahrozyan told AFP.
Mattar Al-Tayer, the RTA’s director general, said it aimed to have a quarter of all Dubai transport automated by 2030.
Dubai is a leading tourist destination in the Gulf, attracting 14.2 million visitors in 2015. He said: “The trial run of the smart vehicle at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard represented the phase one of this technology.

“This experiment is also part of RTA’s plan to test driverless transit technology under the climatic environment of Dubai.”
The vehicle is fitted with all safety requisites and controls specifying its planned route.

The sensor system, as well as the intelligent system of the vehicle, enable coping with any obstacles encountered en route to avoid collision.

Mohammed Ali Al Abbar, Chairman of Emaar Properties said: “We thank the RTA for supporting our plans aimed at using driverless cars in Dubai downtown.
“The trial run of the vehicle is a further testament to the firm commitment of the Emirate of Dubai to encouraging sustainable transit means compatible with Dubai Plan 2021 for building a technologically-connected smart city.”

He continued: “Transport innovation and smart mobility solutions of the city is one of the key drivers of the Smart Dubai vision unveiled by Sheikh Mohammed, and constitutes an integral part of the recently launched Dubai Self-driving Transport Strategy.

“This strategic direction is expected to thrust Dubai to the forefront of cosmopolitan cities adopting clean transport solutions contributing to the sustainable development.” — Agencies

September 03, 2016