They’re expected to begin passenger operations later this year…

Dubai continues to drive into the future, and this week the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) began trials of its soon-to-launch driverless taxi.

The RTA has teamed up with self-driving technology company, Cruise, for the new autonomous vehicles, whom have been issued with the first permit to trial autonomous vehicles (AV) in Dubai. The two entities already have a partnership in place to provide driverless taxi and e-hailing services in the emirate of Dubai in future.

During the trial phase, these driverless taxis have been taking to the roads of the Jumeirah 1 area, but there’s been plenty of research done to get to this point. The open road testing comes off the back of successful data collection and closed track tests of the Chevrolet Bolt-based vehicles.

Rest assured, this initial open-road testing phase is happening with a safety driver present, so if you see the vehicles on the roads, they’re under expert supervision. Cruise are in charge of validating the autonomous driving safety and performance, and ensure the compatibility of the Cruise AV’s with the digital and physical infrastructure in the target area of operation, Jumeirah 1.

During this testing phase, the driverless vehicles are being put through their paces with handling critical traffic situations while a safety driver is present.

All this is a huge step towards getting driverless taxis on the roads by the end of the year, as was announced last month during the Dubai World Congress for Self-Driving Transport. While the first passenger rides are set to start in December 2023, it’s the beginning of a much wider plan for autonomous transport in Dubai. By 2030, the RTA plans to ensure 25 per cent of mobility journeys in Dubai will be driverless.

These self-driving vehicles are expected to significantly improve road safety levels as over 90 per cent of accidents are due to human errors.