If you’ve noticed cars fitted with cameras on their roofs winding their way around your streets, it’s your reminder that you’re truly living in a smart city. They are the Dubai Municipality’s project to digitally map the city’s roads for driverless vehicles.
In a recent social media, the municipal authority announced that the vehicles were part of the Geographical Information System (GIS) Centre’s efforts to develop high-resolution digital maps for driverless cars in Dubai.
Mind you, the Dubai government is set to trial run driverless taxis by rolling them out onto roads sometime next year. So the reality of flagging down an RTA cab Total Recall-style is not set in the distant future but is right around the corner!
“The project targets preparing and designing maps as per the best standards and international practices,” the authority said.
“These maps are set to be utilised by businesses offering specialised solutions for autonomous vehicles, which are perceived to constitute most of Dubai’s transportation in the future.”
And by most, they mean at least 25% of journeys by 2030 will be driverless, as per the vision of H.H Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.
There’s no doubt that the UAE and its world-class infrastructure is prepared for driverless cars – global consultancy KPMG ranks the UAE amongst the top countries in the world when it comes to being prepared to accommodate driverless vehicles.
In fact, almost 4,000 driverless taxis are estimated to be streaming down Dubai’s expressways by 2030, and 10 automated vehicles supplied by US firm Cruise will hit the roads and start ferrying passengers as soon as the end of 2023.
Imagine, in a decade or two from now, the supercars zipping down SZR will probably be autonomous vehicles with no drivers. And you thought Will Smith’s I, Robot set in 2035 was just a movie…