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Dubai Poised to Take the Lead in Driverless Car Adoption

Posted May 12, 2016 10:51 AM by Jordan Perch

The United States may be at the forefront of driverless car research, but lately, some other countries have been expressing their desire to turn to autonomous vehicles as soon as possible in an effort to improve road safety and reduce congestion. China - the world's most populous country - has already taken concrete steps to allow testing of self-driving cars on public roads, while also accelerating the process for creating regulations for autonomous vehicles.

Now, there is another unlikely candidate for a widespread adoption of driverless cars, that may well leave the U.S. behind if it manages to realize its recently announced plan. It's the small small Middle-Eastern nation of United Arab Emirates, which is famous across the globe for being a popular tourist destination and for having one of the largest oil reserves in the world.

25 Percent of all Cars to Be Driverless by 2030

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Emir of Dubai, has announced that the country has set a very ambitious goal for autonomous transportation, turning to self-driving vehicles to tackle traffic congestion problems.

The ruler of Dubai, one of the seven emirates in the country, stated that the plan is to have 25 percent of all trips in the capital city, also named Dubai, made by driverless vehicles by 2030.

"We believe this commitment to outlining a growth path for the implementation of autonomous vehicle technology, coupled with Dubai's Smart City initiative, will support our view that Dubai will provide the biggest opportunities for connected car technology in the United Arab Emirates," read an official statement from the emirate.

An Achievable Goal

Sheikh Mphammed didn't offer too many details on the project, but he did mention that it will be carried out by the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority, in collaboration with the Dubai Future Foundation.

"Today, we lay down a clear strategy with specific goals for smart transportation to form one of the key drivers for achieving sustainable economy in the UAE," he said.

According to the official statement, Dubai will include its public transport system in this plan, rolling out driverless taxis, buses and cable cars, on top of encouraging private self-driving car ownership.

Even though this target might seem too optimistic at first glance, if anyone can do it, it's a city like Dubai. For starters, Dubai is an extremely wealthy city, so funding autonomous transportation projects will not be an issue for it. What's more, road and weather conditions are pretty favorable for deploying driverless vehicles. Dubai has plenty of wide, newly-constructed avenues, whereas inclement weather is practically non-existent, with just a light rainfall in certain periods of the year.

With this in mind, it's safe to assume that Dubai has what it takes to become the global center for autonomous driving technology, and it remains to be seen just how soon this announcement will make automakers and tech companies to start moving their driverless car testing projects to the Middle East.


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