Tassnim Alamar, Farah Maher and Israa Al Ani from University of Sharjah with the Dubai Award for Sustainable Transport in the Best Student Project category. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: Dubai’s transport sector can help prevent accident fatalities and minimise air pollution by using driverless cars, a presentation during the 11th ‘Dubai Award for Sustainable Transport’ (DAST) suggested.

Speaking at the DAST opening ceremony, Dan Ammann, CEO of Cruise Automation, said Dubai, like other large cities, faces congestion, carbon emissions and fatal car crashes.

One solution, he added, for all these problems is self-driving cars. Ammann said Dubai already plans to make 25 per cent of all trips driverless by 2030. Dubai has showcased autonomous driving pods and a pilotless air taxi. It already runs the world’s longest driverless metro, which covers 75km, in addition to a 15km extension to the Expo 2020 site.

Ammann showed a video at the ceremony demonstrating the safety and smart decision-making ability of driverless Cruise cars in traffic and road situations human drivers would find dicey, he said.

Most road fatalities are the result of human errors and taking human drivers out of the equation — and replacing them with autonomous systems — will reduce fatal accidents, Ammann added.

Shaikh Mansour Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum presenting award in Transport for People of Ditermination category to Future Rehabilitation Centre at the Dubai Award for Sustainable Transport on Wednesday 27 February 2019. Photo: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Safety is also one of the pillars of DAST, and winners across all DAST categories were honoured on Wednesday by Shaikh Mansour Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of Dubai International Marine Club. Mattar Al Tayer, director-general and chairman of the board of executive directors of RTA, was present.

The ‘Best Student Project’ category winner was a team from University of Sharjah for its work on developing a hydrogen fuel-cell and solar energy hybrid power system for Dubai Ferry.

The team is comprised of final-year students Israa Al Ani, Farah Maher

Tassnim Alamari, supervised by associate professor Chaouki Ghenai from the university’s Sustainable and Renewable Energy Department.

Their project is designed to convert seawater into freshwater, releasing hydrogen to be used in the fuel-cell to power the ferry, in combination with solar energy generated by solar panels on the ferry’s roof.

The only emission is pure oxygen, which is released into the atmosphere, benefiting the natural environment.

Research for the system is complete and the team is working on a prototype to test the model.

First-place Winners — Dubai Award for Sustainable Transport 2019

Mobility Management: DP World (UAE Region)

Transport Safety: Dubai Municipality

Environmental Protection:  Department of Transport — Abu Dhabi

Transport for People of Determination: Future Rehabilitation Centre

Best Academic Research: Sulaiman Al Zuhair — UAE University

Best Student Project : Israa Al Ani, Farah Maher, Tassnim Alamari — University of Sharjah

Sustainability Ambassador: Chithirai Pon Selvan — Curtin University

Best Academic Institution Supportive of Sustainability: University of Sharjah