Driverless Dubai buses pass strict climate test ahead of 2020 launch

Exciting news! The driverless buses that will be connecting the people of the city to Bluewaters Island have just passed their first operational test – the ability to operate in harsh desert climates.

The fully autonomous buses which will link the city’s network of metro stations to Bluewaters Island will have the capacity to transport up to 5,000 passengers, travelling in both directions, in the space of an hour.

During the test, the transport system was placed in three extreme weather conditions which included “hot, dry” and “hot, humid”.

The test results found that despite being placed in high temperatures of 52°C with humidity levels at three percent, the buses were able to maintain an indoor temperature of 23°C – percent for Dubai’s summer.

The vehicles that have been designed and operated by Dutch technology firm 2getthere will make their Dubai debut in 2020.

For those of you who are new to Dubai or are unaware of Bluewaters Island, here’s what you need to know…

  • The multi-purpose island built by Meeras is located 500 metres off the Jumeirah Beach Residence coastline.
  • Once complete, the private island will feature a collection of townhouses, penthouses and apartments.
  • It will also house a number of retail and dining venues as well as two hotels and of course, Ain Dubai – the tallest and largest observation wheel in the world.
  • The island will have private access from Sheikh Zayed Road, a mono rail system and a pedestrian bridge to the beach.
The driverless buses fit nicely into the city’s mission of converting its transport system to being 25 percent autonomous by 2035.

Just last week, the RTA announced its plans of transporting guests to and from The Dubai Mall and an underground parking lot on Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard using a driverless shuttle service.

For the trial phase of the initiative, the fully autonomous vehicles, that have the ability to comfortably seat up to six or seven passengers, will run along a 550 metre corridor that will have three intersections.

Previously speaking on the news, RTA’s Executive Director of Traffic Hussain Al Banna said: “As a city, we are leading in the use of artificial intelligence in the transport sector.

“We already have a driverless metro operating for so many years. We also have a smart traffic light system Scoot, which will be interacting with autonomous vehicles on a trial that we will be conducting on Mohammad Bin Rashid Boulevard.”

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You will soon be able to take a driverless shuttle to The Dubai Mall

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