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Autonomous Transport:
A USD 6 bn opportunity

Strategy, regulation, and a supportive government make Dubai the ideal location for your AT venture


The global autonomous vehicles market revenues are expected to grow at a CAGR of 39.6 percent between 2017 and 2027 to USD 126.8 billion by 2027. In Dubai, the strategy is expected to add USD 6 billion in annual revenues in several sectors by reducing transportation costs, carbon emissions, and accidents, and raising the productivity of individuals as well as saving hundreds of millions of hours wasted in conventional transportation.


The strategy, announced in 2016, aims to transform 25 percent of the total transportation in Dubai to autonomous mode by 2030, involving 5 million daily trips, generating USD 6 billion every year.


Goals of Dubai Autonomous Transport Strategy

  • 44% reduction in transportation costs. Savings = USD 245 million a year
  • 12% reduction in environmental pollution. Savings = USD 408 million a year
  • USD 4.9 billion annual revenues generated from increasing the efficiency of the transportation sector in Dubai by 2030


  • 3D printing technology will be used to manufacture spare parts of the metro and sections of ticket vending machines and ticket gates of the metro system.
  • Smart pedestrian signals fitted with sensors will be introduced to allow for continuous traffic flow.
  • A pilot is in progress for driverless cars that run seamlessly with pedestrian crossings.



“The pilot test of driverless units in the context of transforming Dubai into the smartest city worldwide echoes the Dubai Autonomous Transport Strategy aimed at converting 25 per cent of mobility journeys in Dubai to autonomous transportation by 2030."

- Mattar Al Tayer, Director General of the Roads and Transport Authority (Dubai Media Office)

“[Dubai has] got the infrastructure, regulatory movement, and kind of capital in place needed to build [the Hyperloop] already.”

- Rob Lloyd, CEO, Hyperloop One (Press Statement)


USD 5 million Dubai World Autonomous Transportation Challenge

Open to companies, R&D centers, manufacturers of vehicles, and technology companies that compete to apply the concept of autonomous transportation in Dubai within two main tracks, the USD 5 million prize is spread across categories.

The winner in the large corporation category will get USD 3 million; the winner in the start-up category will receive USD 1.5 million; and the rest will be awarded in the academic and research categories. The goals are:

  1. Last mile transportation from metro stations to nearby destinations
  2. Autonomous buses within specific neighborhoods to move people between specific destinations such as shops, schools, clinics, and service centers


  • In February 2018, the first concept model of the Hyperloop commuter pod was unveiled in Dubai, in collaboration with Virgin Hyperloop One. The Hyperloop project has advanced to the stage where the agency is considering possible routes for the futuristic transportation mode across the emirate and beyond.
  • Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and NEXT Future Transportation launched the first tests of autonomous pods on the sidelines of the World Government Summit in February 2018. The autonomous pods are designed to travel short and medium distances in dedicated lanes. They can be coupled in 15 to 20 seconds or detached in 5 seconds, depending on the destinations of riders.
  • In February 2018, the RTA announced that it will continue to develop artificial intelligence (AI) in transport to achieve near-perfect punctuality, data analysis, and decision-making processes.
  • In July 2017, the proof of concept of a new two-seat self-flying taxi, Volocopter, was tested in Dubai. The prototype has a maximum flight time of 30 minutes at a cruise speed of 50 kilometers per hour and a maximum airspeed of 100 kph. It will be integrated with public transport systems such as Dubai Metro, Dubai Tram, Dubai Bus, Dubai Taxi, and marine transit.
  • A 10-seater driverless vehicle was placed on trial during the three-day Mena Congress of International Union of Public Transport (UITP) in April 2016, marking the first time an autonomous vehicle was on a trial run in Dubai on a pre-programmed route.
  • RTA established in May 2017 a USD 95 million centralized Enterprise Command and Control Centre and smart dashboard to monitor, control, and integrate all data in easy and intelligent forms for all modes of transport, including Uber and Careem.
  • In 2016, a driverless electric shuttle – EZ 10 – was unveiled on a trial basis to ferry passengers. The shuttle travelled at a speed of 10 kph and ran on electrically powered engines. 


  • Ratio of Dubai residents who prefer to use autonomous transportation – 70%
  • Ratio of residents of global cities who prefer to use autonomous transportation – 58%
Source: Dubai Future Foundation

Transport in Dubai 2030

25% of total trips will be driverless, using autonomous...

  • metro (already here)
  • buses
  • taxis
  • first and the last mile connectivity
  • transport in central business districts
  • transport in residential districts
  • transport in public parks


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