Operation of the self-driving vehicles will start with a limited number of vehicles in 2023
Dubai Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) has chosen autonomous vehicle company Cruise to operate a fleet of self-driving electric taxis and ride-hailing services in the emirate.
This agreement supports Dubai’s 2030 vision for autonomous driving technology, which aims to convert 25 per cent of total trips into self-driving ones across different modes of transport by 2030. Earlier this year, Dubai RTA awarded a 15-year contract to Keolis to operate its driverless metro and tram networks.
Cruise will be the exclusive provider of self-driving taxis and ride-hailing services until 2029. In a statement, Dubai RTA said that the agreement will help to reduce transportation costs by AED900m a year and save AED1.5bn annually by reducing environmental pollution by 12 per cent, as well as generate AED18bn in annual economic returns by increasing the efficiency of the transportation sector in Dubai.
Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai crown prince and chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai, said the agreement will raise the global profile of Dubai in self-driving transport and support efforts to transform Dubai into the smartest city in the world.
He added: “This agreement, which is the first of its kind worldwide between a government entity and a leading developer of autonomous vehicles, and autonomous vehicle technology, is a major step towards realising Dubai’s Self-Driving Transport Strategy.”
Cruise’s partnership with auto manufacturing giants gives the company the ability to build its self-driving cars on standard production lines.
“The operation of self-driving taxis will also enhance the integration between transit means, which will ease the mobility of public transport riders”
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.
“The selection of Cruise was not taken lightly,” said Mattar Mohammed Al Tayer, director-general, chairman of the board of executive directors of the RTA. “We engaged in a comprehensive, multi-year process to choose the best possible partner. Cruise’s technology, resources, purpose-built vehicle, automaker partnerships, approach to safe testing and deployment and strategy give them the ability to launch safely and faster than any other company.
“Preparations for the launch of the self-driving service will start shortly. The operation of Cruise self-driving vehicles will start 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 for operating this technology.”
He continued: “The operation of 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).”
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