As Gulf countries are increasingly committed to a sustainable ecological and energy transition - as evidenced by the Green Initiative held by Saudi Arabia last October - the United Arab Emirates has launched the first test phase of its new hybrid, autonomous and less polluting cabs.
A new innovative transport system
These new cabs are being tested on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, and at first glance they work like a traditional cab service: the user makes a reservation, the cab picks him up and drives him to his destination. The only difference, and it is a big one, is that this cab drives itself… autonomously.
Equipped with sensors on their roofs, these new electric vehicles are for the moment only able to reach 9 points of Yas Island. A security guard is present in the cab instead of the driver, in order to control the situation in case of an incident.
Called TXAI, four cars are available to customers, two electric and two hybrid (i.e. partially electric).
Development of the concept by 2030
If these first tests are promising, patience is required for this new type of innovative transport. The second phase of testing will involve ten hybrid and electric vehicles, which will have to go beyond Yas Island and extend to the city and then to the emirate of Abu Dhabi, before being able to drive throughout the country.
In addition to these technical constraints, these new cabs will have to be fully capable of operating on their own, without the assistance of a security guard or driver to take over in case of malfunction.
Not to mention a clear legal framework to allow such vehicles to drive autonomously in the emirate, which should be put in place soon by the government, according to Hasan al-Hosani, CEO of Bayanat, the artificial agency company in charge of the project: “This technology is new and regulations regarding safety and other operational aspects are being developed.
Once ready, the United Arab Emirates intends that these new cabs will represent 25% of the means of transport without driver by 2030, that is to say 400 vehicles in service in the country. This new technology will allow the country to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, costs related to a transport service, as well as road accidents.