Dubai to launch driverless taxi service by 2023

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Dubai is to launch a driverless taxi service by 2023, it was announced on Sunday.

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) said trials of the service should begin by the end of the year before an official launch in 2023.

The RTA is working with US company Cruise to offer the service in limited numbers by next year and expand “gradually to reach 4,000 vehicles by 2030”.

“Human error is responsible for more than 90% of accidents,” said Mattar Al Tayer, RTA’s chief executive. “Autonomous vehicles are environmentally friendly electric vehicles and can serve a huge number of customers, especially the elderly, residents and determined people.”

Details on routes and firm dates for the launch of driverless taxis have not been released, but Cruise officials have visited Dubai to assess the most suitable locations for the service. It has also not been revealed how much the service will cost. Mr Al Tayer said a “limited number” of vehicles will be used next year.

Cruise is backed by General Motors and this month opened limited driverless taxi service to the public in San Francisco, but there are plenty of caveats. It only works at night and in certain areas, for example, and the service remains free for now.

Abu Dhabi also recently tested a driverless service on Yas Island. Future operations include increasing passenger operations in different areas around Abu Dhabi. The fleet is entirely made up of electric and hybrid cars.

Autonomous cars — in pictures

Updated: February 13, 2022, 10:57 a.m.

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