Driverless cars being tested in the UAE
It sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, with people programming their destination, sitting back with a newspaper and letting their car do the driving. But so-called “driverless cars” aren’t just a far-fetched idea.
During the MENA Transport Congress and Exhibition, organised by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), it was announced that 10-seater driverless cars are being tested in Dubai.
We use the word “car” quite loosely, as it looks more like a miniature bus, with a boxy frame and automatic doors. If the trial goes well, we could see these vehicles in use by the time Expo 2020 comes around.
The cars, which are being called EZ10, were made by a French company called EasyMile/Omnix Company, and are programmed to travel between set routes. Their safety features mean that they can detect oncoming obstacles via a sensor system, making them well equipped to avoid crashes and accidents.
Autonomous vehicles are able to move much like a normal car, sensing the environment around them and moving without any human control needed. Although it sounds very futuristic, these cars aren’t a new concept – in fact, some of the first sensory systems date back to as early as the 20s, while cars without drivers were made by the likes of Mercedes-Benz in the 80s.
Many modern cars already include autonomous elements such as cruise control, electronic stability and even automatic breaking. However, the driverless vehicles that Dubai is considering will go much further than this, by using radar-like devices to keep the car in the correct lane, and position it a safe distance from other drivers.
Last year Mattar Al Tayer, director-general and chairman of the Board of Executive Directors at RTA commented: “This is part of our efforts to use sophisticated technologies in achieving smart mobility with the aim of applying the concept during Expo 2020.”