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Chinese, Egyptian firms win Dubai World Challenge
BrightDrive and King Long share Dubai self-driving bus award
#UAE #autnomousvehicles - The Dubai World Challenge for Self-Driving Transport has awarded top prizes in the industry category of this year's self-driving bus competition to Chinese bus manufacturer King Long and Egyptian startup Bright Drive. The annual competition made self-driving solutions for buses the focus for 2023, with a category for industry leaders and a category for local education institutions. Five firms qualified for the final stage in the Industry Leaders category. King Long took first prize winning $1 million, with Bright Drive as the runner up winning $750,000. Meanwhile, the Local Academia prize was won by Heriot-Watt University. The Dubai World Challenge for Self-Driving Transport and the Dubai World Congress for Self-Driving Transport are organised by Dubai's Roads and Trasport Authority (RTA).
SO WHAT? - Dubai currently has the most ambitious plans for autonomous vehicles in the Middle East, with a stated goal of putting 4,000 self-driving Cruise taxis on the emirate's roads by 2030. However, it is still looking at solutions for autonomous buses. The Dubai World Challenge for Self-Driving Transport creates the opportunity to both highlight Dubai's ambitions on an international stage and build relations with leading autonomous vehicle developers from all over the world.
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Dubai announced a deal with General Motors driverless transport company Cruise in 2021 to create a driverless taxi service in the emirate.
Cruise and the RTA have been running trials of self-driving vehicles in Dubai's Jumeirah 1 district using Chevy Bolt-based AVs since March, mapping the area's roads, collecting data and testing technology infrastructure.
This week the RTA announced, that following the six month data collection exercise in Jumeirah 1, a trial of five driverless taxis be conducted in the area. The robotaxis will be trialed along the 8km stretch of Jumeirah Road, which runs parralel to the beach, between Etihad Museum in Satwa and the Dubai Water Canal.
Following the new trial, the RTA plans to begin public Cruise autonomous taxi services transporting passengers beginning December 2023.
Although the agreement with Cruise is primarily for its Origin driverless taxi, the RTA also has plans to introduce driverless buses.
Both countries have ambitious plans. Saudi aims to make 15 per cent of its public transport autonomous by 2030. Meanwhile, although the UAE has no federal target, Dubai has already set a goal to have 25 percent of its transportation fully autonomous by 2030, this includes its driverless metro network.
Multiple driverless vehicle trials are currently taking place, involving government authorities, local companies and global tech firms in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the UAE, and in multiple locations in Saudi Arabia. To-date all trials have been limited in scale, although with Abu Dhabi's trial growing the fastest. However, Dubai RTA's plans for 2024, could see the emirate accelerate away from the pack!
IMO - Deploying driverless vehicles in mixed traffic environments, where both autonomous and regular vehicles are on the road, is a complicated business. Whilst we can expect the number of driverless vehicle trials in the region to continue to increase over the next couple of years, these are likely to be contained in quieter city districts and kept away from the main roads. Introducing autonomous vehicles to highways is only likely to happen when dedicated lanes can be provided for them, together with the specific digital management systems and safeguards that they require.
Read more about the region’s autonomous vehicle plans:
Qatar announces 5-year driverless vehicles strategy (Middle East AI News)
G42 starts driverless taxi service trials in Abu Dhabi (Middle East AI News)
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