The possibility of having autonomous rides in the country is becoming more and more of a possibility for the public, especially now that the technology for this is already available in some parts of the world.
In an update by authorities, the UAE may have its first ‘robotaxi’ – or a cab without a driver – if an autonomous car startup is able to close a partnership it is seeking in the UAE to run the business.
UAE to Adopt Self-Driving Taxis Starting Next Year
Auto X, a firm based in Hong Kong, is currently in talks with some UAE companies and groups and, if all goes well, it targets to launch its commercial robotaxi, along with autonomous delivery services, in 2020, as shared in a report by the Khaleej Times.
According to Jianxiong Xiao, founder, and chief executive of AutoX, “The technology already exists. With the cooperation of government agencies, the UAE’s first commercial robotaxi will become a reality next year.”
Auto X, which has offices in the US and China, recently moved its headquarters from Silicon Valley to Hong Kong.
The firm also uses its technology in deliveries other than robotaxis.
Earlier this year, AutoX dazzled visitors at the CES tech show in Las Vegas when it used its self-driving car to deliver burgers and fries.
At present, the firm is already operating robotaxi, delivery, and manufacturing pilot programs in the US, Europe, and China.
As per Xiao, “People will benefit from a world where they receive their delivered goods such as food, medicine, clothing, electronics, etc, via automated vehicles or robots, and get around town via a self-driving robotaxi.”
Furthermore, he believes that Dubai will be a perfect place to launch a commercial robotaxi service in 2020 citing the government’s impressive push to become a global technology hub and leader in artificial intelligence (AI).
Xiao shared, “We welcome discussions with the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority, Abu Dhabi Department of Transport, and Sharjah Roads and Transport Authority to fast-track a robotaxi pilot based on our global learnings.”
He explained, “With the right regulations, a commercial robotaxi service is possible by 2020. Dubai’s integrated mobility platform, S’hail, offers an outstanding framework for advancing autonomous vehicle mobility.”
If this becomes successful, not only will Dubai have its own self-driving cars, but the city will also benefit from the actual use and appreciation of the public for it, in time for the Expo 2020 happening later in the year.