transport

Driverless vehicle proves popular in Dubai

95% of users find the autonomous vehicle safe during the trial run

Staff Report
18:16 September 18, 2016

Dubai: A majority of users of the driverless vehicle, EZ10, that is on trial in Dubai have found it safe and satisfactory, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) said on Sunday.

The autonomous vehicle was used for a short period at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) earlier this year before it went on trial at Mohammad Bin Rashid Boulevard from September 1.

The RTA said a survey was conducted among the 1,500 users of the vehicle during the DWTC experiment to receive their feedback.

The survey found that around 92 per cent of the users were satisfied with the vehicle as well as with the idea of deploying it as future public transport.

“The vehicle carried visitors to events and entertainment venues at the DWTC serving more than 1,500 riders. The survey, which targeted riders in the 25-35 age bracket, showed that up to 92 per cent are quite satisfied with the future plan of deploying the vehicle in public transport,” said Ahmad Hashim Behroozian, CEO of Licensing Agency and Head of the Driverless Vehicles Committee, RTA.

About 97 per cent of riders expected the technology to contribute to alleviating vehicle accidents and improving the road safety levels. An overwhelming 95 per cent of respondents expressed comfort and confidence in the vehicle, and 95 per cent felt safe while on board.

Among the respondents, 36 per cent were users of public transport, 32 per cent have private vehicles, and 32 per cent use both public and private transport.

About 87 per cent of riders were Emiratis and UAE residents, and 13 per cent were tourists.

Behroozian added that following an encouraging response to the trial the RTA is considering expanding the use of autonomous vehicles to other parts of Dubai such as metro stations, malls and tourist areas.

“RTA is working on drafting rules and legislations pertinent to smart mobility in the emirate to set out a well-defined legal structure in line with the aim of Dubai to transform 25 per cent of public transport into smart mobility by 2030,” said Behroozian.

The plan envisages using autonomous vehicles in the first and last mile of regular trips across the city as well as business centres, residential complexes and parks.

Built jointly by Omnix International and Easy Mile, the autonomous vehicle dubbed EZ10, is an electric shuttle that can run in both directions as it has no specific front or rear.

It runs on a 700-metre trial route that begins from Mohammad Bin Rashid Boulevard/Financial Centre Street intersection to Vida Hotel Downtown Dubai.

The first driverless vehicle to be on trial in Dubai, EZ10 is expected to connect Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall, Dubai Opera and Souq Al Bahar with several other locations Downtown in the next phase.

Capable of moving at a speed of up to 40km/h, EZ10 cruises at 25km/h and is ideal in pedestrian areas and dedicated cycle lanes. The vehicle is also special needs-friendly, with a movable ramp allowing access to wheelchair-bound passengers.