World’s first self-driving travel pods being tested in Dubai

The driverless cube-shaped vehicles will run on electricity


Is there anything better than the taxi ride home after a long day?

Imagine sailing home in a futuristic pod – without having to make small talk with the driver.

Last week we told you about plans for the hyperloop, and now the world’s first autonomous pods are being tested in Dubai for driverless travel around the city.

The pods are designed to travel short and medium distances in dedicated lanes, though it is hoped that eventually it will be possible to summon them to your door via an app (Uber-style) before being dropped off at your desired destination.

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is launching the pods in cooperation with Next Future Transportation in Italy – and the cube-shaped vehicles are bound to turn heads.

Each pod measures 2.87m in length, 2.24m in width and 2.82m in height. They each weight around 1,500kg and will have the capacity to accommodate ten riders (six seated, four standing).

The pods are fitted with a battery that supports three hours of operation and can be fully charged in six hours.

The average speed of the pod is 20kph and RTA officials said they have allocated Dhs1.5million for further research and development of the vehicles.

We know that Dubai wants to see 25 percent of public transport services switch to driverless cars, trains and driverless buses by 2030.

A date for the launch of the pods is yet to be announced, although RTA hope it will have a more solid plan in place by late 2018/early 2019.

RTA director-general and chairman of the board of executive directors Mattar Al Tayer, said, “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.

“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.”
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