The UAE revealed its first fully autonomous taxi at an event in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
The project, named TXAI, consists of a fleet of vehicles that will be seen on UAE roads for a trial later this month. The ride-sharing services trial will be conducted on Yas Island.
Announced at the Abu Dhabi Smart City Summit, TXAI is the first autonomous driving project to go ahead on a public road in the capital. In charge is a G42 subsidiary called Bayanat, a geospatial, data analytics and AI company in the UAE.
Bayanat and Abu Dhabi’s Department of Municipalities and Transport teamed up in March this year to lead the development of autonomous vehicles.
In phase one of the project, five vehicles will transport passengers between nine stops including hotels, restaurants, malls and offices.
Phase two will involve more vehicles and more locations in Abu Dhabi.
Despite there being no driver, a safety officer will sit in the driver’s seat during the trial phase.
“This project is one of the bold regional steps in employing accurate data-driven artificial intelligence techniques within the transport network,” said Falah Al Ahbabi, chairman of the Department of Municipalities and Transport.
“DMT is continuously working with its partners in Bayanat and Miral to test the safety of the vehicles, in addition to overseeing the operations to ensure that a state-of-the-art service is provided in a safe and distinctive manner, and to ensure compliance with the UAE traffic laws and regulations.”
This month, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, announced that autonomous vehicles would soon be tested on the roads in the UAE.
“We’re incredibly proud to roll out TXAI today, leveraging Bayanat’s expertise in geospatial and AI to usher a new generation of tech-forward transportation to the UAE,” said Hasan Al Hosani, Bayanat’s chief executive.
“Bayanat has been strategically investing in different elements on the smart mobility value chain, including data, infrastructure, and MaaS [mobility as a service], and we are committed to encouraging local and regional utilisation of autonomous driving technology.
“We are confident that the technology behind TXAI has the potential to be transferable and successful in other venues, such as public transportation or for law enforcement.”