Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is trialling its first ten-seater shuttle service that is to be used by residents and visitors around the city in a month-long experiment.
Built by Omnix International and Easy Mile and operated in collaboration with Emaar Properties, the bus is pre-programmed to run along a 700-metre track close to the world-famous Dubai landmark, the Burj Khalifa. Dubbed EZ10, the autonomous vehicle is an electric shuttle designed to travel over short distances in both directions due to having no appointed front or rear.
It has an inbuilt sensor system to avoid collision with any obstacles it may encounter. The experiment comes as Dubai’s ambitious measure to become the smartest city in the world and is part of the Emirate’s smart driverless mobility strategy which aims to make 25% of all journeys in Dubai driverless by 2030.
According to the director-general and chairman of the RTA, Mattar Al Tayer, the trial represents the first phase of testing driverless technology under a climatic environment such as Dubai’s. He said that the RTA hopes to ‘educate the public about autonomous cars technology’ through the test run.
The chairman of Emaar Properties, Mohamed Alabbar, thanks the RTA for supporting the driverless project, saying that the trial run of the autonomous vehicle is evidence of Dubai’s commitment ‘to encouraging sustainable means compatible with Dubai Plan 2021 for building a technologically-connected smart city’.
In future, the RTA and Emaar plan to connect downtown Dubai and its renowned attractions such as the Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall, Dubai Opera and Souk Al Bahar via the driverless shuttle service as well as planning to use the initiative as part of the enormous future project, Dubai Creek Harbour. The feedback of residents and visitors regarding the driverless vehicle will be taken into account via a survey.