GM’s Cruise Ramps up Robotaxi Testing in Dubai

The autonomous vehicles have been collecting data on Dubai’s roads and familiarizing themselves with signage, traffic signals and driver behavior

Graham Hope

April 12, 2023

2 Min Read
Getty Images

Cruise is stepping up preparations for the launch of its robotaxi service in Dubai.

The Emirate’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has confirmed that there are now five of the General Motors’ subsidiary’s self-driving Chevrolet Bolts testing in the Jumeirah 1 area of the city.  

According to the RTA, the autonomous vehicles (AVs) have been busy collecting data on Dubai’s roads and familiarizing themselves with signage, traffic signals and drivers’ behavior.

It’s a clear escalation of activity from last summer, when two Bolts commenced mapping in Dubai, and was acknowledged as such in a statement by the RTA. “This initiative marks a fundamental step toward the launch of self-driving ride-hail services in Dubai,” it said.

A video on Twitter showed the AVs, complete with safety operators, on the road in Dubai.

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The initial target is for a small fleet of robotaxis to be operating in the Jumeirah area by the end of the year.

The vehicles will be available to hire in the area between the Etihad Museum and Dubai Water Canal, with around nearly five miles of roads covered initially.

Locals and tourists will be able to hail the electric Cruise cabs from several popular destinations, including La Mer Beach, Mercato Mall, Coca-Cola Arena, City Walk, Galleria Mall, Box Park and Al Wasl Road.

Related:Cruise Starts Mapping Dubai for Self-Driving Taxis

Although prices for the service have yet to be confirmed, they are likely to be similar to what limousine taxis charge in Dubai, which is broadly around 30% more than regular cabs.

More robotaxis will join the service in 2024, with the ultimate aim for there to be 4,000 driverless cabs deployed in Dubai by 2030.

Ahmed Hashem Bahrozyan, CEO of the Public Transport Agency at RTA, explained why the work currently being carried out is so important for the successful launch of the service. 

“Data collection and testing is a crucial phase in Dubai’s quest for excellence in smart mobility and advanced technology,” he said. “The work being done will ensure Cruise’s advanced generalizable AI and autonomous driving systems safely adapt to Dubai traffic conditions.

“The aim is to obtain the best readings and data through [the Bolt’s] onboard Lidars, radars and cameras that capture data and images within a 360-degree field of vision.”

Dubai’s vision to accelerate the rollout of AVs is driven by a desire to alleviate traffic congestion, lower the number of traffic accidents and cut harmful emissions.

While it will become the first city outside of the United States to commercialize Cruise’s self-driving cars, it is not the only foreign location the company is active in. It is also testing in Tochigi, Japan, in tandem with Honda, where the latter hopes to launch a Mobility as a Service business using a version of Cruise’s Origin.

Related:Cruise, Honda Testing Self-Driving Cars in Japan

About the Author(s)

Graham Hope

Graham Hope has worked in automotive journalism in the U.K. for 26 years, including spells as editor of leading consumer news website and weekly Auto Express and respected buying guide CarBuyer.

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