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RTA set to trial new autonomous shuttle service to Dubai Mall

Dubai's Road and Transport Authority (RTA), has announced that it will accelerate its efforts to deploy autonomous services in 2018 in a bid to make Dubai the 'smartest city' in the world.

Speaking at the opening session of International Road Federation MENA Congress, H.E. Mattar Al Tayer, Director General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of RTA said the city would soon commence trials of an autonomous shuttle service in Downtown Dubai.

It has been disclosed by the RTA that the autonomous shuttle service will carry passengers from Dubai Mall to an underground car park on Mohammad Bin Rashid Boulevard. The innovative project will see the driverless vehicle cross traffic intersections that will interact with Dubai's smart traffic lights system for the very first time.

There will be segregated pathways created for both pedestrians and cyclists and the city's regular cars during the trials in order to ensure seamless movement and no disruption between all modes of transport.

The announcement represents a new dawn for autonomous transportation in Dubai. The 550-metre trial corridor will have three intersections which will allow the 6-7 seater driverless vehicles to cross through. Executive Director of Traffic at RTA, Hussain Al Banna, claimed that the city was at the forefront of utilizing and deploying AI within its transportation systems.

Al Banna said, "As a city, we are leading in the use of artificial intelligence in the transport sector. We already have a driverless metro operating for so many years. We also have a smart traffic light system Scoot, which will be interacting with autonomous vehicles on a trial that we will be conducting on Mohammad Bin Rashid Boulevard."

He conceded that this is just one in a number of projects that the RTA is currently working on in its bid to facilitate and execute the vision of the leadership which is to make Dubai the world's 'smartest city'. Al Banna highlighted some of the other initiatives the RTA is focusing on which include smart parking, smart traffic lights to reduce urban congestion and smart crossings all designed to make the city's traffic flow safer and more efficient.

Al Banna added, "We are introducing a smart system that will see communication between a traffic light and an autonomous vehicle. This system, in the long run, will ease traffic and improve the level of safety on roads. Smart parking, smart traffic lights and smart crossings are some of the other RTA smart city projects and initiatives that we're embarking on in order to help reduce congestion in Dubai."