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Wed 24 Jul 2019 09:08 AM

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Noon to trial autonomous vehicles in Dubai, Abu Dhabi over the 'next few weeks'

Noon.com signed a deal with China's Neolix to bring driverless vehicle technology to the UAE and Saudi Arabia for the first time

Noon to trial autonomous vehicles in Dubai, Abu Dhabi over the 'next few weeks'
Noon.com founder Mohamed Alabbar and Rashid Alabbar, co-founder of Alabbar Enterprises.

Digital marketplace Noon.com has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Chinese tech company Neolix to introduce autonomous delivery technology to the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which will mark the first time the technology is introduced in the region, the company announced on Tuesday.

In a statement, Noon said that autonomous vehicle trials will begin in Dubai and Abu Dhabi “over the next few weeks”.

“Introducing new technology to the region that will improve the e-commerce experience for customers is something we’re incredibly excited about,” Noon.com founder Mohamed Alabbar said. “Noon is very proud to bring driverless delivery vans to streets in our cities.”

Alabbar added that Noon is looking forward to bringing “many” such innovations to the region over the next few months.

“We are a hungry, talented and ambitious nation,” he said. “I hope it will inspire our tech-driven youth to dream big and to achieve those dreams because everything is possible here.”

The driverless vehicles will be built by the Beijing-based Neoflix, which has over 10 years’ experience in smart logistics. The firm currently has four types of products: retail, express, freight and patrol. Neolix vehicles have already been deployed in a number of tourist attractions, campuses and logistics parks across China.

According to Noon, driverless vehicle technology can remove up to 90 percent of the costs associated with the last mile of delivery.

In a recent interview with Abu Dhabi TV, Alabbar said that the delivery of goods in residential areas would be conducted with “driverless buses.”

“We’ll be obtaining the necessary licenses to provide these small buses to deliver goods without drivers,” he said.

Noon.com is a joint venture between Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and Mohamed Alabbar.

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