Dubai: EVs to create digital maps for first driverless taxis

Dubai: EVs to create digital maps for first driverless taxis

Mattar Al Tayer, director general of RTA, said in a statement, that “limited numbers” of the cars would be introduced in 2023.

This month Dubai will start the operation of two Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles (EVs) to prepare digital maps for driverless taxis, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) announced on Sunday.

The move comes in implementation of the directives of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council, to proceed with the partnership agreement between RTA and Cruise to operate Cruise autonomous vehicles for taxi and e-Hail services in Dubai.

Dubai will be the first city outside the United States to offer this service in partnership with General Motors.

Two Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles with sensors and cameras will be used ahead of the wider introduction of high-tech taxis in 2023.

The two Chevrolet Bolt EVs will be initially deployed on Jumeirah streets and driven by specialist drivers.

The technology uses a high-resolution map of the physical environment, which is created using mapping vehicles equipped with sensors including Lidar (Light detection and ranging) and cameras.

The vehicles will collect data as it drives throughout the city, which is then used to create and maintain a navigable map for autonomous vehicles.

“The agreement, which is the first of its kind worldwide between a government entity and a leading company in the field of autonomous vehicles, is a major step toward realising Dubai’s Self-Driving Transport Strategy,” said the RTA on Twitter.

The launch of driverless taxis is part of a long-term vision to make 25 percent of total trips autonomous across different modes of transport by 2030.

Mattar Al Tayer, director general of RTA, said in a statement, that “limited numbers” of the cars would be introduced in 2023.

“Preparing digital maps is an essential step in the process of operating self-driving Cruise Origin vehicles, which will be deployed in limited numbers next year to offer taxi and e-Hail services. We have plans to increase the number of vehicles gradually to reach up to 4000 vehicles by 2030,” said Al Tayer.

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In April 2021, RTA signed an agreement with General Motors-backed Cruise to operate Cruise autonomous vehicles to offer taxi and e-Hail services, as part of its efforts to enhance Dubai’s pioneering role in self-driving transport and transform it into the smartest city in the world.

The agreement, which is the first of its kind worldwide between a government entity and a leading company in the field of autonomous vehicles, is a major step toward realising Dubai’s Self-Driving Transport Strategy aimed at converting 25 per cent of total trips in Dubai into self-driving transport trips across different modes of transport by 2030.

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