Mohammed @ test of world’s first driverless pods

By Sheena Amos

Visits Dubai 10X; orders more projects

DUBAI 14 February 2018: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, attended the initial tests of the world’s first autonomous pods.

The pods are driverless travel cabins and can be ordered via an app to take you from point-to-point.

The project is developed by Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), in cooperation with Next Future Transportation. The project is part of RTA’s efforts under Dubai Future Accelerators initiatives.

The initial tests took place on the sidelines of the World Government Summit (WGS), and was attended by Crown Prince of Dubai Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum; Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and Minister of Cabinet Affairs and The Future and Chairman of the World Government Summit Mohammed Al Gergawi.

RTA Dubai announces Dubai World Congress and Challenge for Self-Driving Transport. Total prizes of US$5 million will be allocated for the Challenge.


The autonomous pods are designed to travel short and medium distances in dedicated lanes. They can be coupled together in as little 15 seconds or detached – depending on the riders’ destination – in five seconds. Each pod is fitted with cameras and electromechanical technologies to carry out the coupling and detaching processes, which can be activated while in motion.

The pod that can accommodate ten riders (6 seated, four standing), measures 2.87m in length, 2.24m in width and 2.82m in height and it weighs about 1,500kg. The autonomous pod has an average speed of 20k/h and it is fitted with a battery that supports 3 hours of operation, and can be fully charged in 6 hours.

Mattar Al Tayer, RTA Director-General and Chairman, said, “It is part of RTA’s endeavours to provide autonomous transport by carrying out technological tests under Dubai’s climatic conditions. It echoes the Dubai Autonomous Transport Strategy aimed at converting 25% of mobility journeys in Dubai to autonomous transportation by 2030. The move also contributes to achieving the integration of public transit means and people’s happiness through providing smooth, quick and innovative transit means,”.

“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 for trials. These pods run on a virtual pre-configured and programmed lane and are overseen by the operational system,” Al Tayer added.

Al Tayer also said that the success of initial tests of these units will bring about a breakthrough in transportation systems that offer innovative mobility solutions and ease snarls in the city. The RTA is keen on ensuring the principle of safety in all services delivered to clients. The autonomous pods have three protection systems to ensure full control and avoid accidents. The main system comprises 3D cameras, and the second one is a standby system based on ordinary cameras, and the last is operated manually by the operator.

Mohammed directs government to launch more projects

Sheikh Mohammed  said that the UAE is continuing its journey to become the most advanced and innovative country in the world.

His Highness stressed that the UAE government always prioritizes the happiness of the country’s citizens, residents and visitors in all its projects and services. This came during the visit of His Highness to the Dubai 10X platform at the World Governments Summit, which took place in Dubai from 11 to 13 February.

During the visit, His Highness was briefed on 10X 2.0, the second edition of the innovative initiative launched at last year’s World Government Summit. 10X aims to enable Dubai government authorities to be ahead of the world across all key sectors, and transform Dubai to the city of the future, by deploying today what cities around the world will apply ten years later.

His Highness was also briefed on 26 approved projects submitted by 24 government entities. The programme, when announced last year, received 160 ideas, projects and initiatives submitted by 36 organizations.

During the tour, Sheikh Mohammed issued directives to adopt more innovative projects and initiatives that helps entities embrace innovation and enhance the ability of government departments to offer services that are better, faster and with highest global standards.

Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, launched yesterday (Monday) the 26 projects under the Dubai 10X initiative at an event during the World Government Summit 2018.

The Dubai 10X initiative runs under the leadership of Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Dubai Future Foundation Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum; and Deputy Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.