World’s first autonomous pods tested by RTA Dubai
The Roads and Transport Authority in Dubai are beginning the initial tests on autonomous pods with the aim to modernise their transportation system, offering innovative mobility solutions which reduces congestion in the city…
The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), as part of the Dubai Future Accelerators initiative, has begun testing the world’s first autonomous pods.
Each pod measures 2.87m in length, 2.24m in width and 2.82m in height. With a weight of approximately 1500kg, each pod has an average speed of 20km/h and a capacity of 10 riders: six seated, four standing. The autonomous pod is fuelled by a battery that can supply three hours of operation and is chargeable in six hours.
HE Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), said: “The RTA has signed an agreement with the American Next Future Inc. to develop autonomous units named NX1 as part of the initial phase of Dubai Future Accelerators. The prototypes of these units are manufactured in Italy and shipped to Dubai for trials. These pods run on a virtual pre-configured and programmed lane and are overseen by the operational system.”
The autonomous pods are designed to travel short and medium distances in dedicated lanes. Depending on the destination of the riders, they can be coupled in 15 to 20 seconds or detached in five. Fitted with cameras and electromechanical technologies enabling the pods to couple and detach, the feature can be activated in-motion.
“The pilot test of driverless units is directed in the context of transforming Dubai into the smartest city worldwide,” continued Tayer. “It is also part of RTA endeavours to provide autonomous transport through technological tests under Dubai’s climatic conditions. It echoes the Dubai Autonomous Transport Strategy aimed at converting 25 per cent of mobility journeys in Dubai to autonomous transportation by 2030.
“The RTA is keen on ensuring the principle of safety in all services delivered to clients. The autonomous pods have three protection systems in order to ensure full control and avoid crashing. The main system comprises of 3D cameras, the second is a standby system based on ordinary cameras with the last being operated manually by the operator.”