Abu Dhabi to operate driverless bus service for F1 weekend

TXAI minibus will carry passengers to eight locations on Yas Island

TXAI, the UAE’s first fully driverless taxi service, will operate a minibus service for F1 fans, stopping off at eight points on Yas Island. Nick Webster / The National
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A driverless bus service will be in operation for fans attending the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this year.

TXAI, the UAE’s first fully driverless taxi service, will run minibuses that stop at eight locations on Yas Island.

Each minibus can seat up to seven passengers at a time and will have LED screens inside the cabin to display a map of the route with stop-off points.

Another screen will offer entertainment.

Safwan Ibrahim of the Abu Dhabi Department of Municipalities and Transport said the minibuses would be smaller than a normal saloon car.

“It will stop at the main entertainment spots on Yas Island,” he said.

“During the next testing phase, we will operate the minibus on Sadiyaat Island at some point in 2023. It will be free of charge to use, as we want to encourage more people to use this kind of transport.

“There are many people living in this area, so we hope it will be well used."

G42 subsidiary Bayanat and the Department of Municipalities and Transport teamed up in March last year to lead the development of driverless vehicles in the emirate.

In November, the TXAI driverless taxi service was launched with a month-long trial on Yas Island.

Bayanat said more than 2,730 people booked the ride-sharing service, which took passengers to nine locations on Yas Island, including Ikea, Yas Beach, Yas Mall, Yas Marina, W Hotel, Warner Bros Abu Dhabi, Etihad Arena and Ferrari World.

The full circuit spanned 20 kilometres.

A safety officer sat in the driver’s seat during the trial phase.

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Updated: October 10, 2022, 3:00 PM