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Driverless cars: Dubai gives green light to study

Transport authority to examine feasibility of using autonomous vehicles on emirate’s roads

PHOTO: A Nissan autonomous car prototype exhibited at the Geneva Motor Show in 2014. Credit: Archives

The unruly roads of Dubai could see a new addition in the future: driverless cars.

The city’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is considering the use of autonomous vehicles, which some say have safety benefits over human-driven cars.

The government body is commissioning a study looking at the use of autonomous cars on Dubai roads, as part of efforts to boost smooth mobility and sustainability in the run up to the Expo 2020.

“Such electricity-powered smart vehicles have a significant contribution to reducing carbon emissions, saving fuel consumption, and improving the smart mobility, which in turn contributes to transforming Dubai into a smart city,” said Mattar Al Tayer, RTA Chairman.

“The RTA has set up a team for studying the use of autonomous cars to map out a strategy and a work plan for addressing the latest developments in this field, and identifying the standards and specifications required in these vehicles along with the needed infrastructure and safety legislations,” he added.

Additionally, an RTA delegation has visited countries in Europe as well as manufacturers of smart vehicles to look at best practices in the industry, according to a statement.

“Smart vehicles can be programmed to lift passengers by moving in pre-designated lanes to feed public transport stations and link with vital centres,” Al Tayer said. This would be done “with the aim of alleviating the need of private vehicles, mitigating road congestions, easing the huge demand of parking spaces, and eliminating environmental pollution and the waste of resources.”

Additionally, autonomous cars could provide mobility to all users, even those unable to drive, the chairman noted.

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