RTA signs Silicon Oasis driverless testing MoUJuly 9, 2017
Self-driving transport (SDT) has long been a goal of the transportation technology research community. As far back as the 1970s, early efforts in the US and the UK produced limited self-driving functionalities in automobiles. What was once a distant goal, is now becoming a reality. Self-driving transport systems offer to transform not only the way we understand and use transportation, but also our social life. SDT technologies promise to transform the private vehicle industry, and even more importantly for Dubai - the mass public transport. Today, Dubai Metro is one of the largest self-driving public transportation systems in the world while other public transport modes such as first-mile-last-mile shuttles, BRT are also making considerable progress towards achieving self-driving functionalities. His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has announced a goal that “by 2030, 25% of all transportation trips in Dubai will be smart and driverless.”
Global studies suggest that the benefits of SDT could be huge ranging from highway safety benefits to reduced parking costs, reduced mobility costs, environmental benefits, improved productivity, and improved quality of life and citizen happiness. In Dubai, it is estimated that these benefits of SDT would be valued at more than AED 22 Billion per year.
The strategy is prepared with clear sight on the current SDT technology status, key challenges, and the trend of technology based on the research and development efforts and the investments made and pledged by worldwide governments and private investors. While there have been significant developments by car manufacturers such as Tesla, Volvo, Mercedes Benz; technology companies such as Google; and ridesharing companies such as Uber; considerable challenges remain unresolved in safety, legislation and technology capability of the vehicles. In Dubai, the challenges are further raised by the extreme weather conditions and the diverse cultural mix of drivers and other road-users.
The uniqueness of Dubai SDT vision is focused on the provision of comprehensive and integrated multi-modal Self-Driving (SD) transport services as a key component of the Dubai Smart City Life. With the inspirational support provided by Dubai leadership, the pace of development and deployment in Dubai will be accelerated with targeted investment, smart partnerships, and unwavering dedication to implementing the activities on the roadmap and the building blocks.