Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum during his visit to Dubai World Congress for Self-Driving Transport. He was received by Mattar Al Tayer, Director General, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors, RTA. Image Credit: DMO

Dubai: Amazing demonstration of Gravity Jet suit and driverless buses was part of the Dubai’s autonomous vehicle transport initiatives. These projects were featured at third edition of the Dubai World Congress for Self-Driving Transport opened in Dubai on Tuesday.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council, inaugurated the Congress and also honoured the winners of the Dubai World Challenge for Self-Driving Transport.

The event, hosted by the Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), saw the participation of over 2,000 international participants, 53 speakers, including top executives, researchers, experts, and developers of autonomous mobility technology. The congress, the first trade event of its kind in the Middle East showcased over 40 exhibitors representing leading entities, displaying cutting-edge technologies in smart and sustainable mobility.

Smart Self-Driving Transport

Mattar Al Tayer, Director General, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors, RTA, s aid that the hosting of this congress is in line with RTA’s efforts to bolster the Dubai Strategy for Smart Self-Driving Transport. This strategy was initiated by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to transform 25% of mobility journeys in Dubai into smart and driverless journeys by 2030.

Subsequently, Sam Rogers (Flying Man), Test Pilot and Designer Lead at Gravity Industries, delivered a keynote address. In his speech, he discussed the future of mobility in the Gravity Jet Suit, the world’s fastest jetpack crafted using 3D printing technology.

Sam Rogers (Flying Man), Test Pilot and Designer Lead at Gravity Industries

“We started using the jetpack suit across various countries worldwide, and paramedics have started utilising it to reach patients, envisioning it as a future mode of transportation. Current efforts are concentrated on manufacturing and evolving more jet suits, employing technology to create high-thrust and electric jet suits. We seek to expand the use of jet suits worldwide and host a race for jet suits in cities around the world, including Dubai,” he noted.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum standing for photographer with winners of the Dubai World Challenge for Self-Driving Transport award organised by the RTA. Image Credit: DMO

Dubai World Challenge for Self-Driving Transport

Sheikh Hamdan also viewed a video about the Dubai World Challenge for Self-Driving Transport, which carries a total purse of US$2.3 million. The challenge received 27 submissions from various countries around the world, surpassing the target by up to 130% for the Industry Leaders category and 175% for the Local Academia category. Five international firms had qualified for the final stage in the Industry Leaders category, and five universities in the Local Academia category.

The film showcased the tests conducted at a designated site at the Dubai Silicon Oasis in collaboration with the Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority compatible with safety requirements. The tests encompassed traffic safety, the advancement of the autonomous technology implemented in buses, and user comfort. It also focused on RTA’s reliability, vision, innovation, skills and experiences, along with the commercial aspect of operability and added value.

Read More

Winners of the Dubai World Challenge for Self-Driving Transport

King Long Company from China won the first place in the Industry Leaders category and was awarded US$1 million. They presented a self-driving bus, six metres in length, capable of reaching maximum speeds of 69 kilometres per hour and accommodating 12 passengers. The bus is equipped with 27 cameras and sensors, with a battery that can be fully charged in 120 minutes.

King Long Company secured first place after the bus successfully underwent multiple tests, evaluated based on five primary criteria: operational strategy, safety and security, sustainability and energy, passenger experience, and interaction with road users. The bus cleared 20 different tests, including emergency lane shifting, navigating through a roundabout with obstacles, and surpassing a broken-down vehicle in the middle of the road.

Bright Drive Company from Egypt secured second place, garnering US$750,000 for a self-driving bus that is six metres in length and has a top speed of 69 kilometres per hour. This bus can accommodate up to 15 passengers and is uniquely equipped with 16 cameras and sensors and can be fully charged in 180 minutes. The bus successfully passed tests that included reversing, navigating pedestrian crossing with limited visibility, and merging into traffic.

Local excellence

Winner of local academia category

Heriot-Watt University Dubai, the winner, received US$200,000. The university presented an innovative concept where passengers experienced riding an autonomous vehicle in a virtual reality mode characterised by passenger safety and comfort. It has new features that includes integration with RTA App and a Journey Planner for bus riders accessible through interactions with a Chatbot.

Khalifa University of Science and Technology, Abu Dhabi, the runner-up, received US$100,000. The university presented a customer experience concept for autonomous buses with a virtual human assistant capable of addressing and responding to passenger inquiries about the bus destination, the number of passengers, and internal and external temperatures.

Strategic partners

Sheikh Hamdan honoured the strategic partners and sponsors of the Dubai World Congress and Challenge for Self-Driving Transport, along with the members of the international jury led by Dr Stephen Shladover, an international expert in driverless transport technology. He also inaugurated the accompanying exhibition, which features over 40 companies specialised in self-driving transportation.