Abu Dhabi: It may take at least ten more years for autonomous electric vehicles to be popular in the UAE, according to a senior executive in electro-mobility sector in the country.

All major automobile companies took around ten years to introduce electric vehicles, said Samer Alawiye, CEO of Green Parking, a Dubai-based company offering charging stations for electric vehicles in the UAE.

The company has installed 18 charging stations in the UAE and will add 50 more in the near future.

Alawiye said automobile companies would be delivering their advanced electric vehicles in 2019 only. “It may take another ten years for them to deliver advanced driverless vehicles.”

Moreover, cultural reasons may also delay adoption of autonomous vehicles for public transport in the UAE. “Do you think people will wait under the sun for a driverless car to arrive [to go somewhere]?”

He said people here may prefer owning a car to a driverless cab for taking their family to a shopping mall.

The UAE residents love big comfortable cars, hence they all may not adopt on-demand autonomous cars, he said.

About technological advancements in the automobile industry, Tony Seba, author of Rethinking Transportation 2030, said disruptive technologies were always introduced by outsiders. In 2007, Google and Apple popularised smart phones, overtaking existing players Nokia and Blackberry. The same will happen in autonomous vehicles, he said.

As Gulf News reported on Wednesday, Masdar, the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, has selected French autonomous vehicle producer Navya to supply the 15-passenger driverless shuttle vehicles to operate in Masdar City next year.

Autonomous vehicles make presence in UAE

Abu Dhabi: Masdar, Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, demonstrated a 15-passenger autonomous shuttle vehicle during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week and offered the public a free test ride.

This is an advanced step from the existing Personal Rapid Transport (PRT) system in the city, which operates in a controlled space in Masdar City. This driverless vehicle network will be expanded along a new one-kilometre route, which will become the world’s first large-scale outdoor sustainable transportation system.

As Gulf News reported on October 30, 2017, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) will soon begin trial of a shuttle service in Downtown Dubai that will have a driverless vehicle transporting passengers between The Dubai Mall and an underground parking on Mohammad Bin Rashid Boulevard.

Operating on a dedicated corridor, the trial, for the first time, will see driverless vehicles cross traffic intersections and interact with Dubai’s smart traffic lights.

The Dubai government has launched the ‘Dubai Autonomous Transportation Strategy’ that aims to transform 25 per cent of the total transportation in Dubai to autonomous mode by 2030, involving five million daily trips. This will save Dh22 billion in annual economic costs and position the Government of Dubai as a global leading example for announcing an integrated strategy with clear enablers and targets within a specific time frame.

The strategy will help cut transportation costs by 44 per cent, resulting in savings of up to Dh900 million a year. It will also help save Dh1.5 billion a year by reducing environmental pollution by 12 per cent, as well as generate Dh18 billion in annual economic returns by increasing the efficiency of the transportation sector in Dubai by 2030.

— B. A. K