Thursday 17 January 2019

Dubai tests world’s first ‘autonomous pods’

DUBAI, February 12, 2018

Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), in co-operation with Next Future Transportation, yesterday (February 11) launched the first tests of the world's first autonomous pods on the sidelines of the World Government Summit.

The autonomous pods are designed to travel short and medium distances in dedicated lanes. They can be coupled in 15 to 20 seconds or detached, depending on the destination of riders, in 5 seconds, said a statement from RTA.

The step is part of RTA’s efforts under Dubai Future Accelerators initiatives. The Authority has signed an agreement with the American Next Future to develop autonomous units named (NX1) as part of the Phase I of the initiative.

The autonomous pods are fitted with cameras and electromechanical technologies to carry out the coupling and detaching processes, and this feature can be activated in-motion.

Each pod, measuring 2.87m long, 2.24m wide and 2.82m tall, weighs around 1,500 kg and has a capacity to accommodate ten riders (6 seated, four standing), said the RTA in its statement.

The autonomous pod is fitted with a battery that supports 3 hours of operation; which is chargeable in 6 hours. Its average speed is 20 k/h, it added.

The prototypes of these units are manufactured in Italy and shipped to Dubai to put them on trials. These pods run on a virtual pre-configured and programmed lane and are overseen by the operational system.

Mattar Al Tayer, the director-general and chairman of the board of executive directors of the RTA, said: "The pilot test of driverless units is directed by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in the context of transforming Dubai into the smartest city worldwide."

"It is also part of RTA endeavors to provide autonomous transport through carrying out technological tests on autonomous transport means under Dubai’s climatic conditions," noted Al Tayer.

"It echoes the Dubai Autonomous Transport Strategy aimed at converting 25 per cent of mobility journeys in Dubai to autonomous transportation by 2030. The move also contributes to achieving the integration of public transit means and people happiness through providing smooth, quick and innovative transit means," he stated.

On the new pod tests, Al Tayer said: "Its success will bring about a breakthrough in transportation systems that offer innovative mobility solutions and ease snarls in the city. The RTA is keen on ensuring the principle of safety in all services delivered to clients."

"These autonomous pods have three protection systems in order to ensure full control and avoid crashing into anybody. The main system comprises 3D cameras, and the second one is a standby system based on ordinary cameras, and the last is operated manually by the operator," he added.-TradeArabia News Service

Tags: Dubai | RTA | autonomous pods | Next Future Transportation |

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