Dubai starts testing of driverless cars


Dubai is moving fast into the future. The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) will soon conduct a pioneering test for autonomous vehicles (AV) crossing traffic lights on Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard in Downtown Dubai.

Covering a total distance of 550 meters, an AV that can carry six to eight passengers will pass through three signal lights from the underground parking at Burj Park going to Dubai Mall and back. The test is initially designated to provide park and ride service to mall staff.

Last year the RTA also tested an autonomous bus called EZ10 but it only moved between 10 to 15 kph passing through pedestrian areas and dedicated cycle lanes. It also did not pass through any traffic signal.

The latest AV testing will “herald the first experience of its kind worldwide in terms of using technology and customising the infrastructure to the crossing of roads by autonomous vehicles,” said Mattar Al Tayer, RTA director general and chairman of the board of executive directors.

The test, which will have a dedicated route, will also help the RTA develop guidelines for SAE Level 3 AV shuttle trials to interact with traffic signals and cross the road safely.

According to SAE International, a global association of more than 128,000 experts in the aerospace, automotive and commercial-vehicle industries, “Level 3 is conditional automation. All aspects of the dynamic driving task is automated with the expectation that the human driver will respond appropriately to a request to intervene.”

The test is also part of Internet of Things. The AV is connected to the RTA’s Enterprise Command and Control Centre and with the use of Short Range Communications delivered by 4G LTE, the AV will receive information in fractions of a second about approaching vehicles, pedestrians and traffic condition.



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