Abu Dhabi: For self-driving cars to operate on its roads, the UAE has authorised the first licence of its kind.
The approval was given at a Cabinet meeting on Monday (July 3, 2023) chaired by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
It was the first licence of its kind for self-driving vehicles to run on the country’s roads. The licence has been granted to WeRide company, which will test different types of autonomous vehicles.
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The Cabinet also approved a national policy for electric vehicles, which includes building a network for electric vehicle charging devices, regulating the EV market, and stimulating related industries to ensure the reduction of emissions, reduce energy consumption, among others.
“As the world rapidly evolves, so do our patterns of mobility. In the coming years, we anticipate significant changes in the way people live and move within the country. The well being, comfort, and quality of life of our citizens and residents will remain top priority on our government’s agenda,” Sheikh Mohammed said.
During the same meeting, Sheikh Mohammed also approved an updated national energy strategy to cope with rapid changes in the energy sector, and increase the contribution of renewable energy three folds within the next seven years.
WeRide, according to its website, has offices in Abu Dhabi and several other cities, with its headquarters located in Guangzhou, China. In more than 26 cities worldwide, it carries out operations and research related to autonomous driving.
Level 4 self-driving
WeRide provides the software and hardware solutions for Level 4 autonomous driving technologies.
Level 4 is considered to be fully autonomous driving, although a human driver can still request control, and the car still has a cockpit. In level 4, the car can handle the majority of driving situations independently.
WeRide provides a Robotaxi, Robobus, Robovan, Robosweeper, and Advanced Driving Solution are part of a product lineup that offers smart services for on-demand transportation, online ride-hailing, urban logistics, and environmental services, its website states.
On Thursday (June 29), Abu Dhabi’s Integrated Transport Center (ITC) announced that visitors to Saadiyat and Yas Island can take advantage of free self-driving vehicle service as part of its Eid holiday offerings. One of the self-driving vehicles is called “Txai” (not a typo error).
The service was initially launched as a trial on Yas Island in November 2021 and ensures a unique journey with high standards of safety and security, ITC said.