Dubai's RTA opens $5m competition to find autonomous transport solutions

Dubai World Challenge for Self-Driving Transport aims to support plan to transform 25% of total mobility trips into driverless trips by 2030
Dubai's RTA opens $5m competition to find autonomous transport solutions
By Staff writer
Wed 02 May 2018 01:59 PM

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has opened registration for the Dubai World Challenge for Self-Driving Transport as part of its plan to transform 25 percent of total mobility trips in the city into driverless trips by 2030.

Mattar Al Tayer, director-general and chairman of the RTA, previously unveiled the initiative in collaboration with Khalifa University and NewCities International Organisation.

Finalists will be announced in October and winners will be unveiled a year later with total prize money exceeding $5 million.

The Dubai World Challenge for Self-Driving Transport targets big companies, start-ups, local and international universities, with about $3 million being allocated to larger companies, $1.5 million for start-ups, and $600,000 for universities and academic institutions.

In February, the RTA launched the first tests of the world’s first autonomous pods.

The pods – launched in cooperation with Next Future Transportation – are designed to travel short and medium distances in dedicated lanes. They can be coupled together in as little 15 seconds or detached – depending on the riders’ destination – in five seconds.

Each pod is fitted with cameras and electromechanical technologies to carry out the coupling and detaching, which can be activated while the pod is in motion.

According to the RTA, each pod has an average speed 20 kilometres per hour, and measures 2.87 metres in length, 2.24 metres in width and 2.82 metres in height, and weighs about 1,500 kilograms – enough to carry 10 riders. The autonomous pod is fitted with a battery that supports three hours of operation, and can be charged in just six hours.

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