UAE first driverless vehicle goes fully operational

Eudore R. Chand

ABU DHABI 28 November 2021: The UAE’s first driverless, autonomous 12-seater shuttle that will transport students and staff around the Sas Al Nakhl Campus, was launched yesterday in the presence of H.H. Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Member of the Executive Council of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Khalifa University of Science and Technology.

He also attended the signing of an Dh170-million operating agreement for the Emirates ICT Innovation Centre (EBTIC) by the three founders Khalifa University, Etisalat, and BT (U.K.), in addition to UAE’s Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA).

Khalifa University has thus become the first university in the UAE to deploy an AV on campus that can also run in ‘real environment’ off campus, bringing smart sustainable mobility to the community and contributing to the UAE’s sustainable development initiatives.

The driverless and 100 per cent electric shuttle is one of the first-ever autonomous vehicles to be deployed in the UAE in a ‘mixed traffic mode’, as it can drive on the road with other cars. T he environment-friendly shared transportation solution will also provide a research and development platform to faculty and researchers at the Khalifa University Centre for Robotics and Autonomous Systems (KU-CARS), to investigate autonomous driving in challenging scenarios.

The Khalifa University AV can detect and avoid potential obstacles thanks to the onboard sensors, Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) cameras, GPS, odometry and inertial measurement units. The shuttles are also equipped with onboard Wi-Fi communications to capture data generated during operation.

The shuttles run safely and effectively in a wide range of environments, including varying traffic conditions such as segregated roads, mixed traffic with bicycles and pedestrians, mixed traffic with low-speed cars, as well as changing weather conditions.

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