7 transportation systems coming to the UAE
From sky pods to driverless cars, a rail that will connect all seven emirates and more…
We have a number of upcoming megaprojects to look forward to in the UAE, from brilliant new hotel openings to cool historic museums, man-made island developments, malls and much more. But, there are also plenty of new transportation systems coming to the UAE that we can’t wait for.
Now, as we already know, the UAE is home to a number of public transportation systems including water taxis, the Dubai Metro, a tram system and a monorail, but soon it will be home to much more.
Here are 7 transportation systems coming to the UAE
On May 14, Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) announced that it had begun trial operations of the ‘First Autonomous Electric Abra’. According to HE Mattar Al Tayer, Director General, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of RTA, the aim to launch the electric abra is to ‘convert 25 per cent of the total mobility journeys in Dubai into self-driving journeys by 2030′. The electric abra will have reduced noise, zero carbon emissions and will be able to operate and run fully ‘autonomous procedures independent of the captain’. The abra will be able to detect obstacles in the navigational path and intervene to avoid a crash during the journey and will be able to notify the control centre of deviations from the operating plan. Read more here.
One of the UAE’s most ambitious travel projects is the 1,200km long Etihad Rail network. The massive Dhs50 billion project began back in 2009 and will stitch the seven emirates together but has plans for future ambitions that extend beyond our borders into the rest of the GCC.
The rail system will transport both cargo and passengers and as announced by Etihad Rail on February 28 – ‘The National Rail Network is complete’ and commercial freight operations have already begun.
As for the passenger trains, we may have to wait a while but we are following all news updates from this project and posting important milestones here.
Upcoming ropeway system
In 2021, Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Zhong Tang Sky Railway Group – a leading company in the suspended railway firm with the aim of bringing a futuristic suspended transport network to Dubai.
The signing of the Memorandum is part of RTA’s ongoing efforts to increase public transportation trips to 26 per cent by 2030 with the ultimate objective being to rank Dubai as the best place for living and business, a destination for visitors, and the smartest and happiest city in the world.
The journey from Dubai and Abu Dhabi can take up to two hours by road. With the arrival of the Hyperloop though, passengers can reach Abu Dhabi from Dubai in just 12 minutes.
The train can reach speeds of up to 1000 km per hour which is three times faster than high-speed rail and more than 10 times faster than traditional rail. An animated video shared by Virgin Hyperloop in January 2022 shows exactly what it will be like to ride the super-fast transport. Read more here.
In 2021, HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai announced the signing of an agreement between Road and Transport Authority (RTA) and Cruise, a leading US-based autonomous vehicle company that will operate self-driving taxis and ride-hailing services in the emirate. The agreement supports Dubai’s 2030 vision for self-driving technology. It also makes Dubai the first non-US city in the world where Cruise will commercially operate these vehicles.
These self-driving vehicles are expected to significantly improve road safety levels as over 90 per cent of accidents are due to human errors. The vehicles are all-electric, environmentally friendly and capable of serving a wide range of clients from different community segments, including seniors and people of determination.
In July last year, Dubai streets were being mapped to prepare for futuristic driverless cars. The vehicles will be trialled at the end of the year with an aim for an official launch targeting the end of 2023. Read more here.
In February 2023, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai confirmed models of aerial taxi stations developed by the RTA. The initial launch will connect four main areas of Dubai: Downtown Dubai (Burj Khalifa area), Dubai Marina, Dubai International Airport, and Palm Jumeirah. According to the Dubai ruler, the emirate will commence its aerial taxi service in just three years’ time, by 2026. The taxis can go up to 300km per hour at top speed and can accommodate up to four passengers with one pilot. Read more here.
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Sharjah’s high-speed electric sky pods will not only transport passengers between the emirates but also cargo at speeds ranging from 150kph to 500kph.
SkyWays or Unicars as it is named is a hanging transport system made up of individual unicars connected by a long cable suspended above the ground.
At the moment, the unicars are being tested in The Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Park (SRTIP). After successful testing, Sharjah will announce the construction of its routes within Sharjah city with further plans for the pods to connect with other emirates.