Drive around Dubai in semi-autonomous Tesla taxi

By Sheena Amos

50 Tesla electric vehicles added to Dubai Taxi fleet

DUBAI 18 September 2017: Some 50 Tesla electric vehicles have been added to the limo fleet of the Dubai Taxi Corporation.

The operation was launched by  Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Dubai Airports, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline & Group, and Chairman of Dubai Supreme Council of Energy. Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General and Chairman of Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) attended the launch of these vehicles which are fitted with several components of self-driving techniques.

The operation of Tesla electric vehicles replicates the Green Economy for Sustainable Development Initiative, and the Dubai Smart Autonomous Mobility Strategy aimed at converting 25% of total journeys into driverless journeys by 2030 and is part of RTA’s expeditious efforts to provide self-driving transit means by going through technological tests designed for autonomous transit means.

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Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports along with senior executives of Dubai Airports attended the launch ceremony which was held at the entrance of the Dubai International Airport (Terminal 3). Also in attendance was Peter Bardenfleth, representing Tesla, the world’s leading manufacturer of autonomous vehicles.

Sheikh Ahmed attended a briefing by Mattar Al Tayer about the operational plan of Tesla vehicles as part of Dubai Taxi limousines fleet. “The RTA has recently taken delivery of 50 Tesla vehicles as part of a deal for 200 vehicles signed last February on the sidelines of the World Government Summit 2017. Accordingly, 75 vehicles will be supplied in 2018, and 75 others to be delivered in 2019. The Dubai Taxi Corporation has coordinated with the concerned parties to provide the needed infrastructure to ensure the operation of these vehicles including the provision of 13 electric recharging stations,” said Al Tayer.

“The vehicles contracted by the RTA are of two models: (S) from Sedan and (X) from SUVs of Tesla make. Model (S) has garnered the largest possible rating of safety at the time of launch as it can cover the longest distance amongst electric vehicles. Besides its performance & facilities, Model (X) has a unique feature as it is fitted with falcon wing doors, panoramic windshield, a seven-seat configuration that provides an unprecedented level of comfort, and manoeuvrability.

Both models can benefit from the free over-the-air software updates that add new features and functionality over time. Besides deploying robust electric vehicles, Tesla has also designed a new and unique series of power generation and storage such as Powerwall and Powerpack technologies and batteries. When combined, the three key components can make a positive impact on the world: electric cars, renewable energy and batteries.

“Tesla vehicles procured by the RTA of Models (S) and (X) are equipped with the hardware needed for full self-driving capability at a safety level greater than that of a human driver. Tesla’s Autopilot is designed as a hands-on experience to give drivers more confidence behind the wheel, increase their safety on the road, and make highway driving more enjoyable by reducing the driver’s workload,” added Al Tayer.

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Afterwards, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, accompanied by Mattar Al Tayer, boarded one of the vehicles for a short tour. He then launched the operation of Tesla vehicles and posed for photos with attendees with the fleet on the background.

Last year, Tesla developed a hybrid system for the generation and storage of solar energy in Tesla vehicles and broadening the scope of the company to manufacture heavy vehicles & trucks. It has also improved the autonomous driving systems to migrate from the semi-autonomous to the fully autonomous system. It is also working on improving the shared transport through the development of service systems for the upcoming generation.