Auto tesla
Tesla is working on being among the first to make self-driving commercially viable. UAE has expressed an interest to tie up with carmaker in this transition. Image Credit: Tesla

Dubai: The UAE threw open the door to Tesla Inc. to join its push to accelerate autonomous driving over the next five years as the Gulf nation seeks to bolster its digital economy, a minister said.

The government plans to hand out data that would be useful to driver-less cars to help incentivize start-ups, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence Omar Al Olama said. Dubai Future Lab, an arm of state-owned Dubai Future Foundation, is also entering partnerships, he said.

"Usually it costs a lot of money for them to collect all this data, but as a government we can collect it and then give it to them as an incentive to start up," Al Olama said.

Tesla Inc.'s Elon Musk said last week that the carmaker is poised to develop a technology making its vehicles fully capable of driving themselves. Tesla and its competitors are "welcome to come and start in Dubai," Al Olama said.

The UAE's economy has been battered by the coronavirus pandemic. But as the country was locked down for weeks, consumers and companies were forced to shift their activities online, boosting the nation's digital economy.

"The traditional economy has been hammered, but the digital economy has been thriving," Al Olama said.