By Parag Deulgaonkar
Emirate is flexible and fast when it comes to legislation, says RTA official
Dubai is building its capabilities to support future tests of driverless cars once the US-based autonomous car manufactures decide to move out of their home base, says a senior Road and Transport Authority (RTA) official.
US giants -- such as Tesla, Uber and Google -- have been testing driverless vehicles in their home countries, but have not moved overseas to conduct tests.
In an exclusive interview with Arabian Business, Ahmed Bahrozyan, chief executive officer, RTA Licensing Agency, and chairman of the smart vehicles committee, said the emirate is gearing up to build all the infrastructure to enable tests of driverless cars.
“Until now, we haven’t reached any agreement with Uber and Google. But today we see companies are doing majority of their trials in the US and they are more comfortable there. We are talking to them and once they come out of the US, we want them to come to Dubai and there is a possibility that this will happen as well.”
He disclosed that the RTA is in talks with different companies, manufactures and operators to conduct trials in the emirate.
“We feel once they decide to come out of the US, we will be a very strong candidate as a city because of several reasons.”
Bahrozyan said the companies, when they talk to the RTA, realise that Dubai is flexible and fast when it comes to legislation and adapting to new technologies.
“So normally for them that is a big benefit because even for them the technology is evolving. So they don’t know exactly what that they need today. They want a city that is flexible and that can adapt with them. They feel Dubai is one of those cities and so they seriously talk to us.”
Another reason, Bahrozyan cited, was the climate.
“The weather, which we do often escape in summer, is the best testing ground for these companies. The dry, hot and humid climate of Dubai as a perfect test ground for them.”
The RTA official disclosed EasyMile, which conducted shuttle bus test in Downtown Dubai last year, learned a lot from conducting their tests in the emirate.
“The lifetime of their battery was not, of course, as capable as it was in the trials in Europe. They had some issues with humidity and dust around their sensors which had to be cleaned more often than they are. These obstacles helped them learn and allows the technology to evolve as they see things that they have not seen before,” Bahrozyan said.