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Self-driving cars are one step closer to becoming a reality on UAE roads

Chinese company WeRide will test autonomous vehicles in the UAE.

Self-driving cars are one step closer to becoming a reality on UAE roads
[Source photo: WeRide | Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

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Self-driving cars operating on the UAE roads will soon become a regular fixture  as the country approved the first preliminary national license with Chinese company WeRide. “This is the first national-level autonomous driving license in the Middle East and even globally,” stated WeRide, adding that the Middle East has been one of its key focus areas of growth for self-driving vehicles.

The news comes after WeRide’s RoboTaxi has been in the motions of public testing and operations on the UAE’s roads for over a year. In April, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, issued a law to govern the use of autonomous vehicles in the emirate. Under the law, Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority (RTA) controls self-driving vehicle regulation, including license issuing and ownership transfer. 

The law also states that operators are responsible for covering all damages caused by accidents. By 2030, Dubai envisions 25% of its transportation to be fully autonomous, and by 2035, McKinsey predicts that autonomous vehicles could generate $300 billion to $400 billion in revenue globally. 

“Adoption of autonomous mobility is expected to generate significant value on multiple fronts. On the economic front, it is projected to boost overall productivity by up to 20% where people are no longer required to spend ‘unproductive time’ behind the steering wheel,” said Joseph Salem, head of travel and transportation at Arthur D Little Middle East. He added, “On the social front, a properly functioning autonomous mobility ecosystem will reduce accidents by up to 50%, where the human-driving factor is marginalized.”

The move also works to achieve the UAE’s net zero emissions by 2050, with sustainable mobility being one of its goals.

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