Dubai has a pretty sweet public transport system. It’s affordable, effective and generally gets us where we want to be.
Eventually some of those journeys we now take by Metro, bus and Tram could involve driverless battery-powered pods that can accommodate 10 riders (six seated, four standing). With an average speed of 20 kmph, they’re aimed at short and medium distances and will travel in dedicated lanes. The pods can zip along singly or be coupled together in a matter of seconds while on the move, using electromechanical technologies.
We’re pretty familiar with driverless transport in Dubai (hello, Dubai Metro) and that it’s a safe bet. It’s still good to know that each 2.87 metre by 2.24m pod is fitted with 3D cameras and can operated manually (if all else fails).
The project is developed by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) with Next Future Transportation. Initial tests took place on the sidelines of the recent World Government Summit, overseen by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and ruler of Dubai, and the Crown Prince of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Prototypes of the units are being manufactured in Italy and shipped to Dubai for trials, says Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General and Chairman of the RTA.
Dubai’s Ruler has previously said that 25 per cent of all journeys should be made by autonomous transportation by 2030.