UAE university debuts autonomous campus shuttle

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Khalifa University in the UAE has launched the Emirates’ first driverless, autonomous 12-seater shuttle. The vehicle will transport students and staff around the university’s Sas Al Nakhl Campus.

The driverless, electric shuttle is one of the first autonomous vehicles to be deployed in the UAE in a ‘mixed traffic mode’. The shared transportation solution will also provide a research and development platform for faculty and researchers at the Khalifa University Centre for Robotics and Autonomous Systems (KU-CARS) to investigate autonomous driving in challenging scenarios.

H.H. Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a 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, witnessed the launch and commented, “The autonomous vehicle at Khalifa University’s SAN Campus reflects the university’s commitment to contribute to Abu Dhabi’s Vision 2030 targets toward creating a knowledge economy and making Abu Dhabi a world hub of research and development. It also contributes toward driving innovation while creating knowledge and human capital. Congratulations to the faculty, researchers and student engineers who have done a commendable job by making us proud of such an achievement by a local university in the UAE.”

The Khalifa University AV can detect and avoid potential obstacles thanks to its onboard sensors including lidar, GPS and inertial measurement units. The shuttles are also equipped with onboard wi-fi communications to capture data generated during operation.

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

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he oversees Automotive Powertrain Technology and Professional Motorsport World magazines as editor.

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