Dubai Becomes the First City Outside the US to Operate Self-driving Cars on a Large Scale


Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has given the green light to the first license for self-driving vehicles in the country. The license has been granted to WeRide, a specialized company that will now have the opportunity to test their autonomous vehicles on UAE roads. This move marks a significant milestone in the UAE’s journey towards embracing autonomous transportation.

UAE’s commitment to electric vehicles and clean energy

In addition to approving the license for self-driving vehicles, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum has also announced the approval of the national policy for electric vehicles. This policy aims to build a national network of electric vehicle chargers, regulate the electric vehicle market, and promote related industries that contribute to reducing emissions and energy consumption. The UAE is dedicated to preserving the quality of its roads while embracing sustainable transportation solutions.

Dubai has been actively exploring the potential of autonomous vehicles for several years. In 2016, the city conducted trials for driverless vehicles on Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard in Downtown Dubai. Since then, Dubai has continued to invest in autonomous vehicle technology and testing. The arrival of Cruise, a San Francisco-based robo taxi company backed by General Motors, in 2023 further solidifies Dubai’s commitment to the future of transportation.

Ambitious plans for self-driving taxis

Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has set ambitious goals for the deployment of self-driving taxis. By 2030, they plan to scale up operations to include 4,000 self-driving taxis. This ambitious initiative positions Dubai as the first city outside the US to operate self-driving taxis on a large scale.

Dubai is also taking the lead in developing regulations for the commercial use of autonomous vehicles. The city is expected to issue comprehensive regulations for the commercial operation of autonomous vehicles in 2023, making it one of the first cities in the world to do so. This regulatory framework will ensure the safe and responsible deployment of autonomous vehicles in Dubai, further cementing its status as a global leader in innovative transportation solutions.

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