Dubai tests world’s first ‘autonomous travel pods’

By Angel Chan

DUBAI 12 February 2018: Dubai has started testing the world’s first ‘autonomous pods’ that will carry you across town in a driverless cabin.

You can order the transport via and app on your smartphone.

In a tweet, Dubai’s Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) said: “Imagine a future with self driving vehicles that pick you up and provide door to door transportation based on your comfort. RTA is introducing the first of its kind Dubai Autonomous Pods.”

The pods are on view at the World Government Summit 2018.

The tests are being carried out in cooperation with Next Future Transportation.

The autonomous pods are designed to travel short and medium distances in dedicated lanes. They can be coupled in 15 to 20 seconds or detached, depending on the destination of riders, in 5 seconds. The autonomous pods are fitted with cameras and electromechanical technologies to carry out the coupling and detaching processes, and this feature can be activated in-motion, said a statement carried by Gulf Today.

Each pod measures 2.87m in length, 2.24m in width and 2.82m in height. It weighs about 1500 kg and has a capacity to accommodate ten riders (6 seated, four standing). The autonomous pod is fitted with a battery that supports 3 hours of operation; which is chargeable in 6 hours. Its average speed is 20 k/h.


“The RTA has signed an agreement with the American Next Future Inc. to develop autonomous units named (NX1) as part of the initial phase of Dubai Future Accelerators. The prototypes of these units are manufactured in Italy and shipped to Dubai to put them on trials. These pods run on a virtual pre-configured and programmed lane and are overseen by the operational system.