Self-driving cars to hit Dubai’s roads in 'near future', says RTA

The department has endorsed standards of testing for electric, hybrid and self-driving vehicles that will ensure the emirate is 'pioneering' in the field

An employee rides in a Schaeffler Mover electric autonomous vehicle during testing in the Schaeffler AG factory in Herzogenaurach, Germany, on Tuesday July 3, 2018. Schaeffler, the ball-bearings maker and automotive supplier, surged after lifting its revenue forecast for the industrial division and reporting higher-than-expected second-quarter profit. Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg
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Dubai has moved a step closer to approving the use of self-driving cars on its roads.

The Roads and Transport Authority department says it has endorsed standards of testing for electric, hybrid and self-driving vehicles that will ensure the emirate is "pioneering" in the field.

The government body has revealed that autonomous vehicles will be a fixture on the city's roads in the "near future" - though it is still not known when the driverless fleet will be rolled out for public use.

“RTA has endorsed the testing standards of electric, hybrid and self-driving vehicles in line with the best standards applied in leading countries in this regard worldwide,” said Abdullah Yousef Al Ali, chief executive of RTA’s Licensing Agency.

The RTA has held 66 workshops with vehicle manufacturers, approved testing centres in Dubai and consultancy companies in the UAE to review and discuss the new standards.

“For self-driving vehicles, the technical testing standards and related technologies will ensure the primacy and pioneering role of Dubai in this class of vehicles,” said Mr Al Ali.


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“It involved the provision of appropriate infrastructure to ensure the safety and security of using these vehicles, especially noting that this type of vehicles will become a reality and hit Dubai streets in the near future. The anticipated technological advancements and associated challenges warrant making such preparations.”

Mr Al Ali said the department considered the need for technical staff, technology-aided testing and the anticipated growth of the vehicles when developing the logistical support for the testing of self-driving cars.

"Our ultimate aim is to empower Dubai to have a global competitive edge in this regard," he said.

Dubai targets 25 per cent of all journeys to be self-driving by 2030. The goal was set after Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, launched the Dubai Smart Self-Driving vision in 2016.