Dubai will be the first international commercial market for Cruise’s all-electric, self-driving, shared ride-hail service, already underway in San Francisco.
An agreement between Dubai’s Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) and Cruise will see the latter begin operating its all-electric, self-driving taxis and ride-hailing services in the emirate in 2023, making Dubai the first non-US city where Cruise will commercially operate its vehicles. The deal also establishes Cruise as the exclusive provider of self-driving taxis and ride-hailing services in the city until 2029.
The agreement supports Dubai’s 2030 vision for self-driving technology, in which the emirate seeks to reduce transportation costs by AED900m (US$245m) a year and save AED1.5bn (US$400m) a year by reducing environmental pollution by 12%, as well as generate AED18bn (US$4.9bn) in annual economic returns by increasing the efficiency of the transportation sector in Dubai.
His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said the deal will help transform Dubai into one of the smartest cities in the world: “This agreement, which is the first of its kind worldwide between a government entity and a leading developer of autonomous vehicles and autonomous vehicle technology, is a major step toward realising Dubai’s Self-Driving Transport Strategy aimed at converting 25% of total trips in Dubai into self-driving transport trips across different modes of transport by 2030,” he said.
Cruise’s partnership with auto manufacturing giants proved crucial in Dubai’s decision, as it believes this will enable Cruise to build its self-driving cars on standard production lines, ensuring the highest performance and safety standards. As such, Dubai will be the first non-US city where the Cruise Origin, the first purpose-built all-electric, self-driving vehicle, will be launched. Under the agreement, Cruise will establish a new local Dubai-based company that will be fully responsible for the deployment, operation and maintenance of the fleet.
“The selection of Cruise was not taken lightly,” commented His Excellency Mattar Mohammed Al Tayer, director-general, chairman of the board of executive directors of the RTA. “We engaged in a comprehensive, multi-year process to choose the best possible partner. Cruise’s technology, resources, purpose-built vehicle, auto maker partnerships, approach to safe testing and deployment and strategy give them the ability to launch safely and faster than any other company.
“Preparations for the launch of the self-driving service will start shortly. The operation of Cruise self-driving vehicles will start with a limited number of vehicles in 2023, with plans to scale up to 4,000 vehicles by 2030. RTA will facilitate the governance of the service provided by the company and support the introduction of the appropriate legislative environment, policies and regulations required for operating this technology,” he continued.
“Self-driving vehicles will bring a fundamental shift in transportation and offer innovative solutions for mobility and congestion in the city. The introduction and operation of the vehicles will be gradual and begin in specific areas, scaling as the community experiences their safety and benefits first-hand. The vehicle will be fitted with state-of-the-art sensors to monitor road conditions, and controls to avoid collision with any objects – even with those the human eye cannot see. The operation of self-driving taxis will also enhance the integration between transit means, which will ease the mobility of public transport riders and simplify the process of being transported to their final destinations (first and last mile).”
“The Cruise Origin will make transportation safer, a better experience, more affordable and better for the planet,” concluded Dan Ammann, CEO of Cruise. “Dubai and the RTA are leading the way in making this a reality for their people, and for people everywhere.”