The Roads and Transports Authority of Dubai have started the trial operation of the First Autonomous Electric Abra. With a capacity of eight riders, this automated abra was made at RTA’s Al Garhoud Marine Maintenance Centre. This design of the abra takes after the traditional ones, preserving its heritage identity. This will be one of the first marine trials in the field of passenger transportation in the world.
This Electric Abra will be a new revolution in the field of Marine Transportation
This trial operation started its trip from Al Jaddaf Station to the festival City Station positioned on Dubai Creek. The Abra attained Level 4 out of the 6 levels of the international autonomy levels for ship design and operation with the trials completed so far.
These trial runs were done with the cooperation of Exalto Emirates and Marakeb companies. They operated and ran fully automated procedures independent of the captain, who will only play the role of operation supervisor to interfere if the situation demands. The autonomous setup is capable of detecting any obstacles along the path and will notify the control center of any system defect. It will also interfere with this abra faces any unexpected barrier during the journey.
The Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors, RTA, His Excellency Mattar Al Tayer told that the operation of the Autonomous Electric Abra aligns with RTA’s ambitions to attain Dubai’s Strategy for Self-driving Transport which sets its targets to convert 25 percent of the total mobility journeys in Dubai into self-driving journeys by the year 2030.
We can expect self-driving taxis by the end of this year, as a part of this initiative. This Abra will also contribute to the plans of reducing carbon emissions of public transport modes as per the stipulations of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy.
This Abra has many amazing features like zero carbon emissions, reduced noise pollution compared to diesel-powered models, and a lower operating and maintenance cost. It is powered by 2 electric motors with a maximum speed limit of seven knots.
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Along with the autonomous control system, it has 4 lithium batteries that make sure of an operating time of seven hours. The RTA used innovative technologies in the construction of the structure of this Abra. Fiberglass was used to reduce its weight.
The Road and Transports Authority has developed several initiatives to develop the marine transport systems, which can be an integral part of conveyance for the residents there. Over 16 million riders ferried marine transport in 2022. These initiatives involve the development of four traditional abra stations in Dubai Creek such as the Bur Dubai, Deira Old Souk, Dubai Old Souk, and Al Sabkha Stations.
The plan also includes increasing the capacity of these stations by 33 percent by making use of advanced technologies to decrease the cost of maintenance, enhancing the lighting of stations and marinas, in addition to offering facilities for customers and investment areas.