RTA installs Smart Meters on Dubai Taxicabs Image Credit: Courtesy: RTA

Dubai: Dubai’s taxi fleet will soon be equipped with smart meters featuring 3D maps, weather information, integrated payment system as well as state-of-the-art information system, Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has announced.

The new meters were showcased at Gitex 2013 along with a raft of features including an application for people with hearing impairment that will be part of Dubai’s new smart taxis.

“The state-of-the-art Smart Taxi Meters would allow the customers to see the taxi driver information. The meters will also analyse driver behaviour of the cabbie. This step has been taken to improve the customer satisfaction level in taxis and gain feedback from customers,” according to Adel Shakri, Transport Systems Director in the RTA Public Transport Agency.

Among the capabilities of the new meter is sending road safety messages to the driver, showing weather conditions on the route as well as at the destination.

“The Smart Meters would connect directly to the taxi’s on-board computers, which would be used to collect precise information and data, and later on analyse driving behaviours of different drivers. In addition, 3D maps would be available in all Smart Meters to provide route guidance and help drivers in taking customers to different destinations all over Dubai on time,” added Shakri.

“The Department will also be able to send images of Dubai City as well as other information such as promotions related to forthcoming landmark events like Expo 2020 images that can be sent online to the Smart Meter and then be displayed on the screen of the smart meters.”

Shakeri said the new meters will be integrated with the sophisticated Dispatcher 8 System that currently runs more than 8,500 taxis in the emirate.

Initially, RTA plans to start rolling out the Smart Meters to 600 taxis in November. The rest of the vehicles will be equipped with the new meters in phases.

Among the other key features of the smart taxi is an application that will help people with hearing impairment to communicate better with drivers.

This initiative, which was launched in association with Community Development Authority (CDA), aims to enhance the integration of people with disabilities in the community and to provide additional facilities for deaf.

According to a survey conducted by the Social Care & Community Cohesion at CDA, more than 89 per cent of people with hearing impairment in Dubai use taxis frequently to go to work, schools or shopping malls, 50 per cent of them experience difficulties in communicating with the taxi drivers while 41 per cent depend on writing to get their messages across to the drivers.

The new programme includes an application developed on Windows Operating System for Nokia Lumia. The application provides several services to help users order taxis and give them the ability to direct the drivers on the routes they want them to follow using voice messages and therefore travel smoothly in Dubai. The programme also provides educational booklet with illustrations to be used by the taxi drivers.

The new application will be available within Dubai Taxi Apps, users can download it to order cars and select desired destinations using drop down tools.