Dubai to start driverless taxi service by 2023

Transport chiefs and Cruise, backed by General Motors, to start trials this year

A driverless Cruise vehicle. Thousands are planned for Dubai's roads. AP Photo
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Dubai is to start a driverless taxi service by 2023, it was announced on Sunday.

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) said trials of the service were expected to start by the end of the year before an official launch in 2023.

The RTA is working with American company Cruise to offer the service in limited numbers by next year and expand "gradually to reach 4,000 vehicles by 2030".

“Human errors are responsible for more than 90 per cent of accidents,” said Mattar Al Tayer, Director General of the RTA. “Autonomous vehicles are environmentally-friendly electric vehicles and can serve considerable numbers of customers, particularly senior citizens, residents and people of determination."

Details about routes and firm dates for the launch of driverless taxis were not released but Cruise officials have visited Dubai to assess which locations are most suitable for the service. It was also not revealed how much the service will cost. Mr Al Tayer said a “limited number” of the vehicles will be used next year.

Cruise is backed by General Motors and this month opened a limited driverless taxi service to the public in San Francisco, but there are many caveats. It only operates at night and in certain areas, for example, and the service remains free for now.

Abu Dhabi also recently trialled a driverless service on Yas Island. Future operations include increasing passenger operations in different areas around Abu Dhabi. The fleet is composed entirely of electric and hybrid cars.

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Updated: February 14, 2022, 6:21 AM