Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) launched the first tests of the world’s first autonomous pods at the World Government Summit on 11 February 2018. 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 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.
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 pods form part of Dubai’s larger strategy of making 25 percent of all journeys in Dubai autonomous by 2030. RTA has signed an agreement with the US-based Next Future Inc. to develop the units as part of the initial phase of Dubai Future Accelerators.