RTA self-driving
Mattar Al Tayer (standing) watches while Ahmed Bahrozyan, CEO of the Public Transport Agency and Frank Menchaca, President of SAE’ Sustainable Mobility Solutions signs an MoU on Wednesday in Dubai Image Credit: RTA

Dubai: Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has announced new theme for the new self-driving global challenge in Dubai.

Mattar Al Tayer, Director General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the RTA, unveiled the theme for the fourth edition of the Dubai World Challenge for Self-Driving Transport 2025, which will focus on designing ‘Dubai Autonomous Transport Zone’.

The initiative involves creating a model district that offers multiple integrated transit means within a single area, enabling residents to select their preferred mode of transport that is convenient and offers quality service. The underlining objective is to design a global model for cities in autonomous mobility.

Read More

The Dubai Autonomous Transport Zone is set to be a world’s first, encompassing a vast array of autonomous transport modes, including light vehicles and autonomous delivery robots. Details of the challenge will be disclosed and elaborated in 2024, which resonates RTA’s vision to be “The World Leader in Seamless and Sustainable Mobility.”

Al Tayer announced the new initiative at the closing ceremony on the second day of the Dubai World Congress for Self-Driving Transport held at the Dubai World Trade Centre under the theme “Empowering Mobility 4.0.”

MoUs signing

Al Tayer attended the signing of three memoranda of understanding (MoU) on the sidelines of the congress aimed to undertake trials for operating autonomous buses in Dubai.

The first 2 agreements were signed with the two winners of the Dubai World Challenge for Self-Driving Transport, namely the Chinese King Long Company, and the Egyptian Bright Drive company, with the aim of sharing expertise in the field of self-driving buses.

The third MoU was signed with SAE International, a leading entity in mobility and finding solutions to provide safe and eco-friendly means of transport.

Ahmed Bahrozyan, CEO of the Public Transport Agency, signed the three MoUs on behalf of RTA. CHEN Weiqiang, Chief Executive Officer Smart Transportation Business Unit, King Long and Hossam Yahia, Chief Technology Officer BrightDrive, signed on behalf of BrightDrive, and Frank Menchaca, President of SAE’ Sustainable Mobility Solutions, signed on behalf of SAE International.

Aerial taxis in Dubai

Meanwhile, during a session titled ‘The Future of Air Mobility, Duncan Walker, CEO of Skyports, said: “An exemplary project on the horizon is the Aerial Taxi set for the start of operations in 2026 [in Dubai]. This groundbreaking venture will travel at a maximum distance of 241km, cruising at speeds of up to 300km per hour.”

He said the construction of vertiports at premier locations across the emirate — the Dubai International Airport, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Marina, and Downtown — will contribute to the project’s success.

The roll-out of the Aerial Taxi is projected to reduce the travel time from Dubai International Airport to Palm Jumeirah from 46 minutes to just six minutes.