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Dubai launches world’s first autonomous pods



We’ve been talking about autonomous travel for a while now. Be it flying taxis or the up and coming driverless shuttle service that will go to and from Dubai Mall. And now, it looks like we are step closer to seeing the city transform its fleet into one that is (more or less) completely free of user interaction.

Just yesterday, the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) launched the very first tests of the world’s first autonomous pods at the World Government Summit.

The pods, launched in cooperation with Next Future Transportation, have been designed for short and medium distance travel.

The futuristic pods are each equipped with cameras, measure 2.87 metres in length, 2.82 metres in height and have the ability to transport up to 10 people at a time.

The pods that have a battery life of three hours can also travel at a speed of 20 kilometres per hour.

Speaking on the news, RTA director-general and chairman of the board of executive directors Mattar Al Tayer said: “The success of initial tests of these units will bring about a breakthrough in transportation systems that offer innovative mobility solutions and ease snarls in the city.

“The pilot test of driverless units is directed by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in the context of transforming Dubai into the smartest city worldwide.”

He added: “[the pods] are also part of RTA endeavors to provide autonomous transport through carrying out technological tests on autonomous transport means under Dubai’s climatic conditions.”

Al Tayer also added that the pods are equipped with three protection systems to avoid accidents and that they form part of the city’s mission of having 25 percent of its fleet be autonomous by 2030.

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