Driverless cars are just around the bend, with Careem announcing that they will launch self-driving electric pods in Dubai “within a year”.

That’s right, the cute mechanical transport will be operating in restricted parts of Dubai by 2017: which suburbs we don’t yet know, but we’ll keep you updated. We’d certainly love to be able to catch a pod from the metro to our office come summer 2017.

The electric pods are currently on display at Gitex at the Dubai World Trade Centre, and these little driverless machines can move as individual units, or can join together creating a bus-like caterpillar of pods.

*New Dubai taxi drivers will have to pass an English test*
*Self-driving taxis could soon be a thing in Dubai*
*See the weird, wonderful – and expensive – things left in taxis*

Careem and the RTA are designing the network of pods to operate as a mass transport system that will mean people can be picked up on demand and then dropped of to different locations.

Here is a micro pod being presented to H.H. Sheikh Mohammed, ruler of Dubai and Vice President of the UAE, to show how it works:

“Our pods are currently in the R&D phase and within a year we will be launching the test phase, whereby fully functional prototypes will be tested in restricted areas,” Bassel Al Nahloui – VP of Business Development and Government Relations at Careem – told Gulf Business.

Here’s an example of how you might order a pod:

Remember, you’ll also soon be able to order RTA vehicles using the Careem app after the two signed a partnership this week.

That means all of the RTA’s 9,841 taxis and 4,700 limousines will be available on the online booking platform, along with Careem’s pre-existing range of limousines and economy cars.

This new move is all part of Dubai’s Autonomous Transportation Strategy, which is aimed at making 25 per cent of all transportation in Dubai smart and driverless by 2030. 

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Photo: Gulf Business.