RTA and Cruise Start Data Collection2-1680696225619
At leave five Chevy Bolt-based autonomous vehicles that will be deployed in the Jumeirah 1 area for road mapping and testing Image Credit: RTA

Dubai: Self-driving taxis will soon by plying on Dubai roads as the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is now finalising its plans to launch autonomous vehicle transport services.

The (RTA) and the Cruise, a self-driving technology company, have initiated data collection and testing of its technology for Dubai’s traffic signals, signage, and drivers’ behaviour among other attributes using five Chevy Bolt-based autonomous vehicles in Jumeirah 1 area. This initiative marks a fundamental step toward the launch of self-driving ridehail services in Dubai.

World's smartest city

According to the RTA, the step is part of RTA’s strategy aimed at bolstering Dubai’s global leadership in self-driving transport and fostering the emirate’s aspirations of becoming the world’s smartest city. Such an endeavour, necessitating investment in smart mobility and the application of advanced technologies, aligns with the RTA’s commitment to enhance the well-being and safety of citizens, residents and visitors.

RTA and Cruise Start Data Collection 1-1680696222816
At leave five Chevy Bolt-based autonomous vehicles that will be deployed in the Jumeirah 1 area for road mapping and testing Image Credit: RTA

Ahmed Hashem Bahrozyan, CEO of Public Transport Agency at RTA stated: “Data collection and testing is a crucial phase in Dubai’s quest for excellence in smart mobility and advanced technology. The work being done will ensure Cruise’s advanced generalisable AI and autonomous driving systems safely adapted to Dubai traffic conditions.

Data collection

“This stage of data collection and testing for Dubai’s traffic environment will utilise five Chevy Bolt-based autonomous vehicles that will be deployed in the Jumeirah 1 area. The aim is to obtain the best readings and data through onboard lidars, radars and cameras that capture data and images within a 360-degree field of vision,” he added.

Ahmed Hashem Bahrozyan

“The launch of autonomous vehicles will bring a positive impact on Dubai’s transportation landscape and well-being. It will facilitate the integration between transportation and communication systems by streamlining the mobility of mass transit users and their arrival to their final destinations,” said Bahrozyan.

Autonomous taxi service

RTA and Cruise have joined forces to run the maiden autonomous taxi service in the city. By 2030, RTA seeks to deploy 4,000 autonomous vehicles, making Dubai the first non-U. S. city to commercialise Cruise self-driving cars. The roll-out of autonomous vehicles will alleviate traffic congestion, lower the number of traffic accidents, and cut harmful emissions.

Bahrozyan noted that the collaboration between RTA and Cruise demonstrates a shared dedication to developing innovative and sustainable urban mobility solutions. It underscores the shared goal of coaxing a sweeping migration toward self-driving technology and promotes smart mobility. The expansion of autonomous vehicles will further boost Dubai’s standing as a global hub for innovative technology of smart mobility.

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On March 9, 2023, Cruise held a workshop on the next stages leading to the pilot phase of operating the service in Dubai. A technical team from Cruise took part in the workshop which was held at RTA’s headquarters in Dubai.

The agenda of the workshop was set by Cruise and RTA to review the specifications of the Chevy Bolt-based autonomous vehicle along with an overview of the data collection stage, operating model, monitoring of local operations and incident response.

The technical team from Cruise and RTA pooled their efforts, and shared knowledge and experiences, thereby promoting cooperation and ensuring optimal deliverables of the data collection stage along with the continued development of the autonomous taxi service.