driverless vehicles
RTA enacts legislation as the trial run of driverless vehicles in Dubai is set to start. Image Credit:

Dubai: As Dubai is gearing up for driverless vehicles, the Road and Transport Authority (RTA) has unveiled rules and regulations governing the trial run of autonomous vehicles in roads.

All driverless vehicles to be tested in Dubai must have comprehensive insurance policy against accidents and civil responsibility, announced the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA. The legislation stipulates the policy must be valid throughout the testing period.

RTA on Monday unveiled legislation enacted to streamline the trial runs of autonomous vehicles in implementation of Resolution of the Executive Council Regulating Test Runs of Autonomous Vehicles in Dubai. The aim of these rules is to raise the attention of the concerned parties to stipulations governing the test runs of such types of vehicles.

“Rules enacted aim to achieve the strategic targets of Dubai Smart Mobility Strategy calling for transforming 25% of mobility trips in Dubai into self-driving transport means by 2030. The underlying objective of the strategy is to reduce the cost of transport, carbon emissions, and accidents besides saving hundreds of million hours wasted in driving conventional vehicles,” said Ahmed Hashim Bahrozyan, CEO of the RTA’s Public Transport Agency and Chairperson of the Smart and Sustainable Transport Committee.

The legislation defines the roles and responsibilities of government entities concerned with trial runs of autonomous vehicles namely RTA, Dubai Police, and Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services. RTA plays a crucial role as it is the licensing authority entrusted with the checking, auditing and endorsing the technical, security and safety standards of trials set by contracting parties such as manufacturers, developers and auto dealers. It also tasks RTA to set stipulations of roads, areas and speeds governing test-runs of autonomous vehicles,” he explained.

Major regulations for driverless vehicles

According to Bahrozyan, the legislation enacted provides for individuals, firms and public entities intending to carry out trials on autonomous vehicles in Dubai to conclude contracts with RTA.

The contract shall define the rights and duties of both parties and stipulations set in the permit which will be granted by RTA’s Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors.

Testing Environment

The legislation tasks RTA to monitor the compliance of the concerned parties and certify vehicles that have passed the trial run. RTA shall prepare the infrastructure and logistics of the trial run in coordination with the concerned entities.

RTA is entitled to form joint teams with those entities to oversee the conducting of such trials.

The legislation defines the roles of Dubai Police and Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services and entrusts them with the responsibility of coordinating with RTA, particularly in assessing the test-run of autonomous vehicles.

It also calls on them to deploy traffic patrols and ambulance vehicles required for the conducting the trial run.

The legislation stipulates that the autonomous vehicle to be tested must be covered by a comprehensive insurance policy against accidents and civil responsibility. The policy must be valid throughout the testing period.

It orders manufactures and other parties concerned with the trial run to comply with the conditions and processes stated by RTA in this regard,” stated Bahrozyan.

The legislation entitles RTA to take measures if any of those parties that fail to honour its obligations.

Measures include serving written notice, suspending the trial, abolishing the permit or annulling the contract; which renders such parties incapable of carrying out any trial run.

The legislation exempts RTA from any third-party responsibility in connection with any losses incurred as a result of the test-run of autonomous vehicles, and obliges those parties to solely assume such responsibilities.