Tuesday 13 April 2021
The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) of Dubai and Cruise, a leading US-based autonomous vehicle company, have signed an agreement by which Cruise will operate self-driving taxis and ride-hailing services in Dubai. The agreement will make Dubai the first non-US city in the world where Cruise will commercially operate these vehicles.
The deployment of these self-driving vehicles is expected to significantly improve road safety levels as over 90% of accidents are due to human error. The all-electric vehicles are environmentally friendly and capable of serving a wide range of clients, including seniors and people of determination.
The agreement will support Dubai’s 2030 vision for self-driving technology, as part of which the city seeks to reduce transportation costs by AED 900 million a year and save AED 1.5 billion a year by reducing environmental pollution by 12%. It also aims to generate AED 18 billion in annual economic returns by increasing the efficiency of the transportation sector in Dubai.
The agreement is the first of its kind worldwide between a government entity and a leading developer of autonomous vehicles. Cruise’s partnership with auto manufacturing giants gives them the ability to build their self-driving cars on standard production lines, which will ensure the highest performance and safety standards.
Dubai will be the first non-US city where the Cruise Origin, the first purpose-built all-electric, self-driving vehicle, will be launched. Under the agreement, Cruise will establish a new local Dubai-based company which will be fully responsible for the deployment, operation, and maintenance of the fleet.
Cruise’s technology, resources, purpose-built vehicle, automaker partnerships, approach to safety testing, and deployment and strategy give it the ability to launch safely and faster than any other company. Preparations for the launch of the self-driving service will start shortly with a limited number of vehicles in 2023, with plans to scale up to 4,000 vehicles by 2030.
RTA will facilitate the governance of the service provided by the company and support the introduction of the appropriate legislative environment, policies, and regulations required.
Self-driving vehicles are expected to bring a fundamental shift in transportation and offer innovative solutions for mobility and congestion in the city. The introduction and operation of the vehicles will be gradual and begin in specific areas, scaling as the community experiences their safety and benefits first-hand. The vehicle will be fitted with state-of-the-art sensors to monitor road conditions, and controls to avoid collision with any objects - even with those the human eye cannot see.
The self-driving taxis will also enhance the integration between transit means, which will ease the mobility of public transport riders and simplify the process of being transported to their final destinations - first and last mile.