Self-Driving Taxis In Dubai To Arrive Starting October: Fully-Automated Transport Service Powered By GM’s Cruise

Self-driven cars have always been the future goal of personal transport. Recently, a conference held in Dubai on the World Congress for Self-Driving Transport has proved that self-driving autonomous technology is here and ready to be deployed. The RTA (Road and Transport Authority) in association with GM Cruise autonomous car technology provider is all set to launch the driverless car in Dubai starting October 2023.

RTA has announced that five driverless taxis will be deployed along the 8km stretch of Jumeirah Road between Etihad Museum and Dubai Water Canal in the first week of October. These autonomous taxis, operated by Cruise, a US-based self-driving technology company and a subsidiary of General Motors (GM), won’t carry human passengers during the trial phase.

However, select individuals will be able to use Cruise taxis by the end of this year, with entire commercial operations expected to commence in the second half of 2024. When the driverless taxis and e-hail services are fully operational, Dubai will become the first city in the world to deploy Cruise self-driving vehicles outside the US commercially.

RTA’s Digital Mapping:

  • RTA and GM Cruise have digitally mapped the Jumeirah 1 area.
  • Strategic location and historical tourist attractions make Jumeirah an ideal starting point.
  • The Initial rollout will operate exclusively within the Jumeirah area, following local speed limits.
  • Two Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles recorded street layouts, pedestrian crossings, and signage.
  • The mapping process was reported to be smooth and glitch-free.
  • Officials also stated that the car can recognise individuals wearing traditional attire accurately and recorded as pedestrians.

The Self-Driving Taxi Model:

  • The self-driving taxis will use an all-electric and emission-free Chevrolet Bolt equipped with LiDAR, cameras, and radars.
  • RTA plans to introduce more autonomous taxis in the Jumeirah area by next year.
  • The ultimate goal is to deploy 4,000 driverless cabs across Dubai by 2030 as part of the Smart Self-Driving Transport Strategy.

Legislations & Benefits:

  • The relevant legislation for autonomous vehicles in Dubai was passed earlier this year.
  • Collaboration with Dubai Police to formalize a response plan in case human intervention is needed during the trial phase.
  • Benefits include reduced traffic congestion, fewer accidents, and lower emissions.

Capacity and Pricing:

  • Cruise taxis can accommodate up to three passengers.
  • The fare structure is still pending but expected to be comparable to limo taxis (about 30% higher than regular cabs in Dubai).

Cruise Origin: Self-Driven MPV

During the two-day Dubai World Congress for Self-Driving Transport, alongside the three-passenger Cruise taxi, another remarkable vehicle took the spotlight: the Cruise Origin. This shuttle-like vehicle, tailored for ridesharing services, boasts the ability to accommodate up to six passengers comfortably.

According to Cruise, the self-driving ride-sharing autonomous vehicle can achieve highway speeds without a steering wheel and pedals. Apart from the convenience of drive-less travel, the MPV also offers a spacious layout with seats arranged facing each other, allowing for up to three passengers on each side. Passengers can conveniently access personal USB ports, and digital displays provide them with real-time information about their journey. 

Dubai is all set to revolutionise taxis by introducing the technology from the future. The adaptation of the service could take time, but the implementation seems to be on track.

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Source: Khaleej Times

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