Mobileye enters UAE’s race towards autonomy
One reason for the UAE’s rapid modernisation is the internal competition between the various emirates. The Arab country’s recent peace deal with Israel has allowed Mobileye to enter the inter-emirati race towards autonomous mobility.
In September, both Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates reached a peace agreement with Israel, normalising relations and opening the door for economic cooperation.
This allowed Mobileye, the Jerusalem-based Intel subsidiary specialised in driver assistance systems, to enter into a partnership with Al Habtoor Group (AHG), a major conglomerate in the UAE.
The deal states that vehicles equipped with Mobileye’s Advanced Driver Asssistance Systems (ADAS) will be rolled out in Dubai (pictured) to harvest smart city data, with the aim of improving road safety and providing governments and businesses with actionable insight for developing driverless taxis and other Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) solutions.
The project has four stages:
- In the next half year, Mobileye will install collision-avoidance systems in 1,000 vehicles and start collecting traffic data.
- Later this year, Mobileye will deploy autonomous vehicles on public roads (pending official approval).
- Next, Mobileye, AHG and Moovit (also Israeli, also acquired by Intel) will test a MaaS offering before commercialising the service.
- By 2023, all parties will cooperate to launch a driverless mobility service for UAE consumers.
Mobileye is currently running similar mapping and testing initiatives in Germany, South Korea, France and Israel itself.
But Dubai is not the only part of the UAE that is looking to take the lead in the autonomous-technology department. In the neighbouring emirate of Sharjah, smart transportation supplier ION and Sharjah’s University City have just successfully concluded a pilot of ION’s Navya autonomous shuttle.
The project, designed to assess the operational efficiency of the shuttles, helped students at the University commute between colleges. It was overseen by Sharjah Police, for safety reasons.
The shuttles are equipped with deep-learning technology and offer wheelchair-accessible transport for up to 15 passengers. Conclusion of the pilot project: the shuttles are able to offer regular, dependable services within the city, thus helping to reduce congestion and pollution.
ION is the sustainable transportation subsidiary of the Bee’ah Group, which pioneers sustainability in the Middle East. Its shuttle project was in line with the emirate’s official directive to invest in a knowledge-based economy, as well as in technology and sustainability.
So, who will win the race towards the first generally available autonomous-vehicle service in the UAE: Dubai or Sharjah? That remains to be seen…