Dubai is set to become the first city outside the US to operate driverless vehicles, following an agreement signed between the autonomous vehicle company Cruise and Emirate’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), under which Cruise will be the exclusive provider of driverless cabs and ride-hailing services in Dubai until 2029.
The news was announced following a meeting between Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, and Jeff Bleich, former US Ambassador and Chief Legal Officer of Cruise.
"Our goal is to convert 25 percent of the total transportation in Dubai into self-driving trips through various means of transportation by 2030,” said Sheikh Hamdan.
The Crown Prince also detailed how "Dubai's vision for the future of self-driving" would benefit both the economy and the environment substantially.
"Dubai's vision for the future of self-driving aims to reduce transportation costs by Dh900 million annually, saving Dh1.5 billion by reducing environmental pollution by 12% annually," he said.
It also aims to achieve Dh18 billion in economic revenues every year by increasing the efficiency of the transport sector by 2030, he added.
4000 Vehicles by 2030
According to the agreement, the autonomous vehicle company backed by General Motors and Honda, will launch its first international ‘robotaxi’ service in Dubai, and will start testing its vehicles in the Emirate in 2023, with plans to launch a commercial ride-hailing service soon after, The Verge reported.
“As part of the ride-hailing service, Cruise will use its fully autonomous Origin vehicles, which it first unveiled in 2019. The company does not plan on utilizing its Chevy Bolt electric vehicles that it currently uses as part of its test fleet in San Francisco”.
“The Origin is designed to be a shared vehicle, and when it goes into production, it won’t have any controls typically associated with human driving, like a steering wheel or pedals. Cruise said the goal is to scale up to at least 4,000 vehicles in Dubai by the year 2030.”
“The selection of Cruise was not taken lightly. We engaged in a comprehensive, multi-year process to choose the best possible partner. Cruise’s technology, resources, purpose-built vehicle, automaker partnerships, approach to safe testing and deployment and strategy give them the ability to launch safely and faster than any other company,” said Mattar Mohammed Al Tayer, director-general and chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the RTA.
Cruise’s partnership with auto manufacturing giants gives them the ability to build their self-driving cars on standard production lines, which will ensure the highest performance and safety standards, Khaleej Times said.
Dan Ammann, CEO of Cruise, said their self-driving fleet “will make transportation safer, a better experience, more affordable and better for the planet”.
“Dubai and the RTA are leading the way in making this a reality for their people, and for people everywhere,” said Ammann.