The United Arab Emirates could have its very first self-driving taxicab next year.
The vehicle, known as a ‘robotaxi’, could hit UAE roads in 2020 if a partnership is successfully acquired for a self-driving car start-up firm trying to get the business up and running in the country.
The Hong Kong-based company AutoX is talking with a number of groups and companies in the UAE.
The aim is to have the commercial robotaxi launched next year, along with a number of other autonomous delivery services.
The founder and chief executive of AutoX, Jianxiong Xiao, says that the technology is in existence already and that the first commercial robotaxi in the UAE could become a reality next year if government agencies cooperate.
The company already has offices in the US and China and recently shifted its base of operations to Hong Kong from Silicon Valley.
The company already makes use of the same technology intended to be used for the robotaxis in deliveries.
Attendees of the CES tech show in Las Vegas earlier this year were impressed by AutoX’s use of its self-driving vehicle to deliver French fries and burgers.
The company is currently operating the likes of delivery, manufacturing and robotaxi pilot schemes in China, Europe and the US.
Xiao believes that people will be able to benefit from living in a world where they can get around with a self-driving robotaxi and receive goods such as clothing, food, electronics and medicine from robots or automated vehicles.
Xiao also thinks that Dubai would be an ideal launching pad for a commercial robotaxi service next year.
The UAE’s push to turn into a leader in the field of artificial intelligence and a global hub for technology is impressive, according to the CEO.
Xiao says that the company welcomes talks with the likes of the Abu Dhabi Department of Transport, the Sharjah Roads and Transport Authority and the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority.
The hope is that the discussions will be able to get a robotaxi pilot programme fast-tracked in the UAE based on their experiences elsewhere in the world.
Under the right regulations, it would be possible to get a commercial robotaxi service up and running in the UAE by next year, Xiao claims.
S’hail, the integrated mobility platform in Dubai, would provide an excellent framework for the advancement of autonomous vehicle mobility within the UAE.
The start-up firm has been branching into both areas of autonomous technology, with the goal being to eventually democratise autonomy and make self-driving tech accessible, affordable and safe.
The vehicle tech company has been blazing a trail for robotaxi efforts all over the world.
AutoX has joined forces with Shanghai’s Jiading District to launch a robotaxi pilot scheme with 100 cars by the end of this year.
Europe’s very first robotaxi pilot scheme will also be operating next year thanks to the company’s partnership with National Electric Vehicle Sweden.
It is unclear as to how car insurance will work with autonomous vehicles, but for the moment, everyone in the UAE is still obligated to be covered.