Dubai’s first driverless taxi launched

Dubai's first driverless taxi

Dubai has unveiled its first driverless taxi, launching a month-long trial period for the electric vehicle with a view to expanding it across the futuristic Gulf city-state.

The 10-seat vehicle made its first trip on Thursday along a 700-metre (2,300-foot) stretch of road in downtown Dubai, near to the Burj Khalifa, the world´s tallest tower.

Running on a 700-metre trial route that begins from Mohammad Bin Rashid Boulevard/Financial Centre Street intersection to Vida Hotel Downtown Dubai, the driverless vehicle will provide free rides to all commuters.

The minibus is jointly Developed by French group Easy Mile and Dubai-based Omnix and is powered by an electric motor and can hit speeds of 40 kilometres per hour (25 mph).

Because of cutting-edge guidance technology, its developers say the bus can adapt its speed to the surrounding environment and even come to a complete halt if a pedestrian were to cross its path.

It is also programmed to navigate between Dubai´s main tourist attractions, including the Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Mall, Dubai Opera and the Souk al-Bahar shopping centre, the emirate´s Road Transport Authority (RTA) said in a statement.

Thursday´s test run was “the first and critical stage in our efforts to introduce this type of vehicle into Dubai´s transport network,” RTA official Ahmed Bahrozyan told AFP.

Mattar al-Tayer, the RTA´s director general, said it aimed to have a quarter of all Dubai transport automated by 2030.

Dubai is a leading tourist destination in the Gulf, attracting 14.2 million visitors in 2015.

According to a report,  Several automobile companies will launch vehicles with self-driving capabilities by 2020. Self-driving cars could dramatically reduce the number of accidents and can save thousands of lives.

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