Autonomous cars are the latest development in global smart mobility systems, and this technology is based on electric vehicles fitted with smart sensors to enhance safety. Image Credit: RTA

Dubai: Driverless vehicles could soon be travelling alongside you on the city’s roads as the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has announced the commissioning of a study on using ‘autonomous cars’ in Dubai.

Autonomous cars (driverless cars) are the latest developments of global smart mobility systems, and this technology is based on electric vehicles fitted with smart sensors to enhance the safety element and avoid crashes.

The project comes as part of the RTA’s endeavours to use the latest technology in the field of smart mobility solutions to be considered for use in Expo 2020.

Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), said, “The RTA has set up a team for studying the use of autonomous cars (driverless vehicles) to map out a strategy and a work plan for addressing the latest developments in this field, and identifying the standards and specifications required in these vehicles along with the needed infrastructure and safety legislations. In this context, the RTA has approached a host of international manufacturers of smart vehicles to examine technological alternatives on offer, and plan for real-life experiments for using such vehicles in Dubai under the supervision of the RTA.”

Al Tayer said that a delegation from the RTA has visited a number of European countries to examine the latest models undertaken by smart cities across the globe in the field of smart mobility.

“The team has also visited some businesses and manufacturers of smart vehicles to check the best international practices of this line of industry, and review the latest studies and researches published by key specialist international research centres in this regard.

“The smart vehicle has multi-operational techniques as it can operate within moving vehicles’ environment without necessarily requiring connectivity with the control centre. Examples of this include ceasing motion in the event of traffic disruption, and perceiving the road condition as well as traffic signals, and pedestrian movement, among others,” Al Tayer said.

Such electricity-powered smart vehicles can make a significant contribution to reducing carbon emissions, saving fuel consumption, and improving smart mobility which, in turn, contributes to transforming Dubai into a smart city.

“The vehicle can also be operated via an automated internet-based control system where it can be fully controlled by a control centre without requiring a driver. In this regard smart vehicles can be programmed to lift passengers by moving in pre-designated lanes to feed public transport stations and link with vital centres with the aim of alleviating the need for private vehicles, mitigating road congestion, easing the huge demand of parking spaces, and eliminating environmental pollution and the waste of resources. Smart vehicles will provide mobility solutions to all users, even those who are unable to drive, which will ultimately ease the mobility of Dubai residents and visitors, and improve the mobility of services on offer,” added Al Tayer.

Al Tayer said the initiative is being adopted in implementation of the directives of President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and His Highness Shaikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to endorse 2015 as a year of innovation in the UAE, in addition to the launch of a comprehensive national strategy with the aim of ranking the UAE in the first position worldwide in the field of innovation.