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The self-driving delivery vehicle that will be rolled out in Downtown Dubai soon. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: A self-driving delivery vehicle will be rolled out soon in Downtown Dubai, a senior official from the Roads and Transport Authority announced at Gitex, the region’s largest information technology show that opened at Dubai World Trade Centre on Sunday.

The autonomous vehicle will be used as a last-mile delivery solution and will be initially deployed along Emaar Boulevard in Downtown Dubai, where the vehicle will deliver goods from retailers on its own without human intervention, explained Khalid Al Awadhi, Director of Transportation Systems at RTA.

The delivery system is fast and convenient - the self-driving delivery vehicle takes the parcel to a given location and the recipient can pick it up with a QR code to open the carriage.

The driverless vehicle developed by Chinese company Neolix can be used for delivery of food, parcel and various merchandise, noted Al Awadhi, adding: “The autonomous delivery system is part of Dubai World Challenge for autonomous transport launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, which is aimed at transforming 25 per cent of total mobility journeys in Dubai into self-driving means by 2030.”

How it works

Speaking exclusively to Gulf News, Jason Wang, country manager of Neolix, explained how driverless delivery works.

He said Neolix has created a safe platform for the unmanned vehicle. The vehicle, which runs at maximum speed limit of 20 km/h, is equipped with three 16-line lidars, one 1-line lidar, one front-facing camera, four high-definition surround view cameras, four wide-angle cameras, 14 ultrasonic radars and 2-millimetre wave radars.

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Jason Wang, Country Manager of Neolix and Khalid Alawadhi, Director of Transportation systems, RTA with A self-driving delivery vehicle will be rolled out soon in Downtown Dubai at Gitex Global at Dubai World Trade Center. Photo: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

In terms of vehicle “perception”, the vehicle’s “multi-sensor fusion sensing scheme based on deep learning provides redundancy guarantee under the premise of ensuring accuracy. It can identify pedestrians, motor vehicles, non-motor vehicles, roadblocks, lane lines, traffic lights, etc.”

“The multi-sensor fusion positioning scheme will ensure centimetre-level positioning accuracy. There is also behaviour-prediction based on deep learning to ensure safety and provide a scenario-based decision planning mechanism. For safety, there is software and hardware backup redundancy, emergency avoidance system and 5G remote takeover system.”

Neolix runs on a dedicated path to ensure obstacle avoidance. The vehicle will drive along a route without human intervention through a pre-set driving route. The company said “the vehicle should perform obstacle avoidance and stop actions on the detected external environment, such as vehicles, pedestrians, and facilities, to avoid traffic accidents.”

The vehicle remains in the middle line of the designated lane and can pass through roads with a curvature radius of less than 0.1. Throughout the driving process, the vehicle’s lateral error does not exceed 0.2m, the vehicle will not press to the left and right edge of the map, the vehicle will be driven according to the speed limit of the road section. The vehicle will not brake outside the expected, steering action.

Picking up the parcel

The recipient will be able to open the carriage with a QR code. Neolix unmanned vehicles offer touch-screen interaction, visual interaction, hand-stop and emergency stop buttons. It also has voice prompts and other functions.

Driverless delivery specs

Length (mm) 2735

Width (mm) 1057 Contains all devices

Height (mm) 1552/1840 Ground to shark fin/ground to lidar (empty)

Height (mm) 1522/1808 Ground to shark fin/ground to lidar (full)

Wheelbase (mm) 1730

Front track (mm) 888

Rear track (mm) 892

Front suspension (mm) 516

Rear suspension (mm) 489

Curb weight (kg) 500

Full load mass (kg) 800

Minimum ground clearance (mm) 117

Maximum wading height (mm) 140 Fully loaded

Battery Type 18650

Battery charging time – 4 hours

Battery capacity (kwh) 7.9

Maximum torque of motor (Nm) 50

Maximum design speed is 55km/h

Maximum speed limit is 20 km/h