Project aims to integrate autonomous services into Doha’s public transport
Posted: 17 December 2019 | Sam Mehmet (Intelligent Transport)
‘Project Qatar Mobility’ aims to create a holistic ecosystem for autonomous driving, including the creation of an appropriate legal framework, smart city infrastructure and transfer of knowledge, which can be used as a blueprint to transform urban mobility, both in Qatar and beyond.
Representatives of Volkswagen AG and the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) have signed the ‘Project Qatar Mobility’ in Doha. The goal is to develop an autonomous transport project and ultimately transform the future of urban mobility to allow the sustainable and commercial deployment of autonomous shuttles and bus services.
Fostering a cross-brand collaboration as a blueprint for future AV solutions, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, Scania, MOIA and AID-Autonomous Intelligent Driving will all reportedly play a role in the project.
The agreement was signed by QIA CEO, Mansoor Al-Mahmoud, and Herbert Diess, CEO of Volkswagen Group, at a ceremony in Doha. The initiative is said to underline the mutual commitment to both smart technologies and green transport, with both organisations working together to develop the required physical and digital infrastructure to integrate a fleet of self-driving vehicles into Doha’s existing public transport network.
Thirty-five autonomous, electric ID. BUZZ AD from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles will shuttle up to four passengers in the Westbay area on semi-fixed routes, while 10 Scania buses pick up larger groups. Volkswagen Group’s units AID and MOIA will reportedly provide the SDS knowledge and the app software to run the service.
Closed testing of the shuttle vehicles and buses is expected to begin in 2020 and trials will start in 2021. The project aims to go live by the end of 2022, providing a technical showcase of future autonomous driving.
Diess said: “Project Qatar Mobility will play a very important role in our Strategy ‘Together 2025+‘. Addressing the economic growth, social development, and environmental management challenges identified as part of our vision, it underlines our commitment to investing in next generation mobility. We will be experiencing real-world learnings and use the project as a stepping stone for generations to come.”
Henrik Henriksson, President and CEO of Scania, added: “In the coming years, technological and infrastructural progress in electric and autonomous vehicles will be key enablers in the shift. With regards to people transport, a higher degree of sharing is also important and through advances in autonomous transport it will be simpler to introduce more flexibility in shared people transport. It is exciting to play a role in cutting edge projects like this one in Qatar.”