Forget Driverless Cars, Dubai Is Now Giving The Green Light To Driverless Buses

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Dutch technology firm 2getthere has bagged a contract to build an automated vehicle system in Dubai that will link the upcoming Bluewaters island project with the city’s network of metro stations.

The firm said it would build the project through its Middle East joint venture with United Technical Services, adding that the automated vehicle connection between Bluewaters and the metro is set to become the largest of its kind in the world.

The transport system will have a capacity of 5,000 people per hour per direction.

Home to Ain Dubai, the world’s tallest and largest observation wheel in the world, Bluewaters is a destination under construction 500 meters off the Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) coastline.

It will feature a collection of townhouses, penthouses and apartments; retail and dining experiences and two hotels, linked to the shore by a multi-modal transport system ensuring easy access to the island.

The automated transport system at Bluewaters will feature 25 driverless vehicles capable of carrying 24 passengers each, connecting stations on the island, and Nakheel Harbour and Tower Metro Station, around 2.5 kilometers apart.

The capacity will initially be 3,350 people per hour per direction. The trip time will be about 4.5 minutes.

Last week, Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) said it plans to test driverless buses on dedicated lanes in the near future.

In the first phase, the (public) buses will be autonomous, but with a driver sitting which is similar to what you see with companies such as Google.

The driver is sitting there for precaution, said Ahmad Hashem Behroozian, chief executive officer, RTA’s Licensing Agency.

But as the technology evolves, you can expect a bus without a driver and without steering in the future, Behroozian said.

The autonomous buses will not be really merging with traffic in the first two years.
They will have their own dedicated lanes with sensors and cameras controlling the direction of the bus and it being able to stop during emergency situations, said Behroozian.

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