Driverless car tested on UAE road trip

27 Nov 2019

Highways in the United Arab Emirates will likely soon welcome driverless cars, and such a vehicle was recently sent on a road trip between Dubai and Abu Dhabi in order to test out the technology.

The Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (Esma) wanted to see how the driverless Mercedes vehicle would cope with standard driving challenges such as normal traffic movements and hot weather.

The director general of Esma, Abdulla Abdulqader Al Maeeni, says that the reaction of the driverless car was tested against the likes of other vehicles coming in front of them and braking, as well as going at lower and higher speeds.

The test was carried out in October in order to see how the car would fare in the summer and in a normal driving environment rather than a track designed for testing such vehicles.

The UAE has been conducting test drives of autonomous vehicles for a number of years now in order to determine the regulations and rules that will need to put in place so that they can be safely used on the nation’s roads by ordinary motorists.

A draft law has now been created by Esma that has several proposed regulations.

This law could be adopted soon once all stakeholders finish their reviews of it this week, according to the top official.

The draft law is to undergo an in-depth discussion on Wednesday – the conference’s second day – with other stakeholders, according to Al Maeeni.

The entities, which include the likes of government departments, car company tech department representatives and manufacturers, will share their opinions on the extra points or changes that need to be made before submitting the draft for approval.

Al Maeeni says that one of the main aims of the conference is to find solutions to overcome the many challenges that need to be faced before autonomous vehicles can be implemented in the UAE.

These involve regulations pertaining to traffic departments, technical requirements, security and safety issues, insurance, registration and connectivity.

The Emirates News Agency says that Al Maeeni believes that self-driving vehicles could be in use on the roads of the UAE within just two years.

Electric vehicles were also the focus of the Future Mobility Conference, which took place on Tuesday.

The International Organisation for Standardization’s deputy secretary general Nicolas Fleury says that the world needs to unite to develop mobility standards that are eco-friendly and can help to change the world.

Fleury says that mobility shapes the world, changes lives and effects every moment of them, making it important for cooperation, consensus and collaboration to be in play when examining the opportunities and challenges offered by new technologies.

Global cooperation is vital to successfully respond to large-scale challenges such as climate change, and the world can be changed by international standards such as mobility, according to Fleury.

Even if and when self-driving cars do become the norm, car insurance will likely still be necessary to guard against the financial costs of theft and accidents.

Having car insurance coverage is currently the law for all drivers in the UAE.