A competition to design and build driverless buses for the streets of Dubai has been shortlisted to 12 finalists — each bidding to win a $1 million prize.
They include entries from France, the UK, China, Taiwan and the US, and have come from academic institutions and private businesses.
The Dubai Roads and Transport Authority challenged local and international engineers to solve the first and last mile challenges facing public transport users in reaching their final destinations.
The Dubai World Challenge for Self-Driving Transport 2023 addresses current problems, including traffic congestion and the drop in public transport use.
“Self-driving transport has become a key pillar of RTA’s strategy and we are keen on launching several initiatives to turn the self-driving transportation concept into a reality in Dubai,” said Mattar Al Tayer, RTA Director General.
“Designating self-driving buses as a theme for the third renewal of the challenge is a catalyst to achieve Dubai’s Smart Self-Driving Transport Strategy aimed to transform 25 per cent of mobility journeys in Dubai into smart and driverless journeys by 2030.”
Previous RTA competitions challenged scientists to find solutions for automated delivery services and the development of drones.
For the automated bus challenge, six international companies qualified for the final stage in the industry leaders category: Adastec from the US, King Long from China, Alexander Dennis from the UK, Navya and Gaussin from France and iAuto from Taiwan.
Meanwhile, the six universities qualified for the finals in the local academia category are Khalifa University of Science and Technology, American University of Sharjah, Heriot-Watt University, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, University of Dubai and the University of Bolton.
The selection of finalists was based on several parameters such as credibility and vision, the extent of innovation, the relevance of skills and expertise, and commercial elements like operability and value-added.
Qualifying criteria included the relevance to the needs of Dubai and the UAE, with the winners to be announced during the Dubai World Congress for Self-Driving Transport 2023.
“This edition of the challenge, which focuses on self-driving buses, features an increase in the number of participants in both categories with 27 submissions received from worldwide candidates,” said Mr Al Tayer.