Some of the tests for driverless buses were held at Dubai Silicon Oasis Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The third edition of the Dubai World Congress for Self-Driving Transport is set to kick off tomorrow, Tuesday, at Dubai World Trade Centre.

The two-day event will see 10 local and international finalists compete for a prize pool of $2.3 million awaiting the top prototypes of self-driving buses, some of which were tested in Dubai.

Under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council, the latest edition of the Congress will be held under the theme ‘Empowering Mobility 4.0’.

The opening day of the Congress will see the honouring of the winners of the Dubai World Challenge for Self-Driving Transport, which this year is focused on self-driving buses.”

Driverless journeys

Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), said: “RTA’s hosting of the Congress, challenge and accompanying exhibition is consistent with its efforts to realise Dubai’s Smart Self-Driving Transport Strategy aimed to transform 25 per cent of mobility journeys in Dubai into smart and driverless journeys by 2030.”

He added: “The Congress is a global platform for autonomous mobility that brings together experts, specialists, policymakers, technology developers, researchers, and academicians to exchange ideas and visions between global leaders of innovation and technology connected to autonomous vehicles. It seeks to explore top practices and exchange ideas in discussion panels, seminars and workshops to review the latest developments and innovations in autonomous mobility. Furthermore, the congress aims to elevate community awareness of the latest and future transportation technologies and gauge their impact on investments and mobility strategies.”

Speakers and sessions

The Congress has attracted about 2,000 participants from around the world. It features 53 speakers and encompasses 18 seminars and workshops, eight discussion panels, five parallel sessions, and two knowledge sessions, hosted by the International Society of Automotive Engineers. It includes top executives, researchers, experts, and developers of autonomous mobility technology.

Sam Rogers, known as the Flying Man, Chief Designer and Test Pilot at Gravity Industries, will be the keynote speaker of the opening session of the congress. He will discuss the future of mobility in the Gravity Jet Suit.

Stephen Shladover, an international expert in driverless transport technology, will deliver the closing speech on the first day.

On the second day, Dr Marko Bjelonic, Founder of Swiss Mile Company, will give the keynote address, while Duncan Walker, CEO and Co-Founder of Skyports, will deliver the closing speech of the congress.

Dubai’s Challenge

The opening day of the congress will witness the felicitation of the winners of the third edition of the Dubai World Challenge for Self-Driving Transport. It carries a total purse of $2.3 million, with $2 million for the Industry Leaders category and $300,000 for the Local Academia category.

The third edition of the challenge saw a surge in participation across both categories. A total of 27 applications were submitted from all over the world. Ten local and international firms made it to the final round of the Dubai World Challenge for Self-Driving Transport which is focused on Self-Driving Buses in the categories of Industry Leaders and Local Academia.


Five international firms had qualified for the final stage in the Industry Leaders category: Alexander Dennis (United Kingdom), Bright Drive (Egypt), King Long (China), Quadribot (France), and iAuto Technology (Taiwan). Five universities were selected for the finals in the Local Academia category: Heriot-Watt University, Dubai, Khalifa University – Abu Dhabi, University of Dubai, University of Bolton - Ras Al Khaimah, and the American University of Sharjah.


Companies qualified for the Dubai World Challenge for Self-Driving Transport underwent unified tests prepared by global experts. They comprised basic and advanced tests covering traffic safety, maturity of the autonomous technology used in buses, user convenience, credibility and forward vision of the participating entity, the extent of innovation and skills, relevant expertise, the commercial aspect of operability and value addition.

Tests for the Industry Leaders category were conducted at a designated site at the Dubai Silicon Oasis in collaboration with the Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority, to ensure all safety protocols are met.

In the tests for the Local Academia category, each university showcased its prototype at its campus. The assessment was guided by the university’s solutions for enhancing passenger service, integration with autonomous buses, and the maturity of proposed solutions.

40 exhibitors

The congress is accompanied by an exhibition for self-driving transport in which 40 exhibitors representing leading companies are participating. These companies will showcase the latest technologies in the field of smart and sustainable mobility. Visitors will have the opportunity to learn about the features of Cruise autonomous vehicles which will be launched in Dubai at the end of this year in cooperation with Cruise, the leading manufacturer of autonomous vehicles.