Shaikh Mohammad during a meeting to launch the smart self-driving transport strategy yesterday. Shaikh Hamdan, Shaikh Maktoum Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, and some senior officials were present. Image Credit: WAM

Dubai: Twenty-five per cent of transportation in Dubai will be smart and driverless by 2030, resulting in annual economic savings that exceed Dh22 billion.

The smart self-driving transport strategy was launched on Monday by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince, and Shaikh Maktoum Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, and some senior officials were present.

Shaikh Mohammad said that the strategy will be a joint effort by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and Dubai Future Foundation.

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Shaikh Mohammad also launched the Dubai World Challenge for self-driving transport, the largest tender around the world in which global companies, academic institutions and research centres will compete to implement scenarios and applications of self-driving technology on Dubai roads.

“Dubai is on the front foot compared to cities around the world, and is achiving a qualitative shift in using artificial intelligence to serve humanity and establish a unique global model for cities of the future. Dubai is transforming into the largest global lab for technology and research and development,” said Shaikh Mohammad.

“Today, we lay a clear strategy for smart transportation. It represents a key aspect for achieving a sustainable UAE economy and is a phase that complements a series of achievements and coincides with the Dubai clean energy strategy that was launched in November and the launch of the largest solar energy complex in the world,” he added.

“We want to make Dubai a sustainable place to live in that future generations can enjoy with high-quality smart services rendered in a sustainable environment,” said Shaikh Mohammad.

Shaikh Mohammad reaffirmed that 25 per cent of transportation in Dubai will be smart and powered by self-driving, which will make people’s lives easier and increase individual productivity and preserve natural resources and the environment.

Regarding the global challenge, Shaikh Mohammad pointed out that the UAE is distinguished by its continued aspiration to be a pioneer in everything that concerns serving humanity and making people’s lives easier. The challenge aims to quicken the transition of the latest transportation technologies from the phase of laboratory testing to actual implementation on the streets of Dubai.

In addition to its contributions to savings, the strategy will also help reduce carbon emissions and traffic accidents, as well as save millions of hours wasted through the use of traditional transportation methods.

The strategy is based on setting up an infrastructure that is suitable for new technologies and studying the preparedness of approved transportation systems for self-driving transportation methods. An aspect of the strategy was reserved solely for self-driving technologies and telecommunication systems due to the key role they will play in achieving the strategy’s goals. This aspect of the strategy will focus on testing and documenting experiments pertaining to self-driving transportation methods, as well as achieving global leadership in implementing and introducing self-driving transportation systems within current and future methods of transportation.

The strategy also consists of developing a legislative framework that supports self-transportation. This will help with the implementation of the strategy and determine which self-driving transportation methods are permitted in Dubai.

When implemented, Shaikh Mohammad said that the strategy will reduce transportation costs by 44 per cent or Dh900 million, saving Dh1.5 billion through reduction of environmental pollution, and Dh18 billion through raising efficiency of the transport sector by 20 per cent.

It will increase productivity of individuals by 13 per cent and save people up to 396 millions of hours wasted during travel on roads yearly. He indicated that the strategy will also contribute to reducing road accidents and their associated economic losses, by 12 per cent, saving Dh2 billion a year.


The Dubai World Challenge

The Dubai World Challenge will be based on two aspects, one of them will be the Last Mile Transportation that will transport Dubai Metro passengers departing from certain stations to a number of destinations that are close by.

The second aspect will be introducing self-driving buses in certain residential areas that will allow passengers to travel to a number of destinations within the neighbourhood, such as schools, stores, clinics and service centres.

The winners of the challenge will be chosen based on various technical criteria, such as transportation speed, safety standards, flexibility of trips and economic efficiency.

Present during the launch of the strategy were Mohammad Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future, vice-chairman and managing director of Dubai Future Foundation; Mattar Al Tayer, chairman of the Board and executive director of the RTA, and a number of senior officials.