The vehicle has smart sensors that enable it to avoid obstacles Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Driverless vehicles will soon be deployed to keep some popular areas of Dubai clean with the Dubai Municipality successfully testing a self-driving electric truck that cleans cycling tracks around two beaches.

The civic body today released a video that shows a self-driving truck that sweeps the cycle tracks along Jumeirah and Umm Suqeim beaches.

“This comes as part of efforts to preserve the hygiene and sustainability of all touristic facilities in Dubai, including public beaches, as well as to enhance their cleanliness and aesthetic appeal by leveraging the latest technologies such as automated and electric cars,” the municipality stated.

Apart from delivering unique experiences for Dubai beachgoers, the Municipality said it aims to minimise environmental pollution and carbon emissions by using its automated fleet.

Classified as a smart sweeper, the new self-driving vehicle features cutting-edge technological and technical specifications such as smart sensors that enable it to avoid obstacles, ensuring a higher productivity rate as compared to manual cleaning.

The eco-friendly vehicle operates continuously for eight hours on a single charge and goes at a speed of 40km/h in normal mode.

5 sweepers for 2,250km

Earlier this year, Dubai Municipality added five cutting-edge high-tech vehicles to its fleet of automated sweepers used for cleaning highways and external roads.

Five large sweepers equipped with advanced technology were included, which can sweep roughly 2,250 km of exterior roads and highways every day.

The automated fleet of Dubai Municipality’s waste operations department has 752 vehicles and equipment, including 35 for cleaning important highways.

These include vehicles that have pavement and road cleaning equipment, chopping equipment, and large-scale agricultural waste shredding and processing equipment for plantations, public parks, and tree waste.

Dubai Municipality had assigned a field team of 12 staff to supervise 72 cleaners working on a regular basis and around the clock to keep Dubai’s public beaches clean.

It also equipped the team with 13 new mechanisms and equipment to improve communication and emergency response time.

Digital mapping

Last year, Dubai Municipality’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Centre, the official source for providing and updating maps, plans and geographic information for the emirate of Dubai, initiated a project to design highly precise digital maps for autonomous vehicles.

This step came in line with the ambitions and visions of the Dubai government to promote digital transformation of public utilities and make Dubai “the best city to live” in the world as well as strengthening Dubai Municipality’s vision of making it the pioneering global city.

Meanwhile, the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) last week announced that it had completed the initial phase of creating digital maps of Jumeriah streets, positioning Dubai as the first city outside the US to commercially deploy self-driving technology company Cruise’s autonomous vehicles. RTA and Cruise are working together to introduce the first autonomous taxi ride, with plans to roll out 4,000 vehicles by 2030. Dubai’s strategy for smart and self-driving transport aims to transform 25 per cent of mobility journeys into smart and driverless journeys by the same period.

Green transport

RTA has also endorsed a plan to transform taxis in Dubai (Dubai Taxi and franchise companies’ taxis) into 100 per cent eco-friendly (hybrid, electric and hydrogen-powered) by 2027. This move is consistent with RTA’s roadmap to have zero emissions of public transport in Dubai by 2050, and the Dubai Government’s strategic directions towards comprehensive environmental sustainability.