Giving directions to taxi drivers could eventually be a thing of the past, as autonomous taxis make their Dubai début.
Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority (RTA) says the vehicles are now running on dedicated routes at – where else? – Dubai Silicon Oasis, after launching at GITEX Tech Week in October 2018.
Members of the public won’t be on board during the three-month test phase but a human driver will be in the car, for if they need to take over.
Driverless cabs are equipped with safety features including cameras and sensors that analyse road conditions to control the vehicle and avoid collisions. No word on whether they’ll engage passengers in polite chit-chat about the weather or recommend shortcuts.
As part of the week-long event at Dubai World Trade Centre, the RTA has also unveiled examples of spare parts for Dubai Metro that were 3D printed, a loyal points scheme for nol card users called ‘nol Plus’, an automated AI Chat Bot to answer customer queries, and robot cleaners for Dubai Metro stations.
Mattar Al Tayer, Director General of the RTA, added that other projects on display are “real-time screens for passenger information” and “an upgraded version of Drivers and Vehicles App” that’s “integrated with Salik services.”
It’s the goal of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai that by 2030, 25 per cent of all journeys in Dubai are made by self-driving transport.