Cruise is following through on its pledge to introduce autonomous driving in Dubai. Cruise has sent two of its autonomous Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles to Dubai to start mapping the city in advance of a planned launch in 2023, according to Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority, just a few weeks after the General Motors-backed AV company officially launched its commercial driverless operations in San Francisco (RTA).
As part of UAE ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s plan to convert 25% of all transportation journeys in Dubai to self-driving trips by 2030, Cruise inked a collaboration agreement with the RTA in April to launch a robotaxi service there. Cruise was selected as Dubai’s only Robotaxi supplier through the year 2029 following a “comprehensive, multi-year process to identify the best potential partner.”
The two Chevy Bolts, which started their mapping operations on Sunday, will be initially placed in the Jumeirah neighborhood of the city, a residential area near the beach, and driven by people with specialized training. Lidar, radar, and cameras are among the sensors utilized by Cruise to gather information about the area around the vehicle. This information is then used to build a virtual map for the autonomous driver.
The company’s purpose-built, all-electric Cruise Origins shuttle, which lacks a steering wheel and pedals, will be used for the Robotaxi service in Dubai, according to prior statements from Cruise. The director-general of RTA, Mattar Al Tayer, stated in a statement that he wants to see 4,000 Cruise Origins in Dubai by the year 2030.
However, according to a Cruise spokeswoman, Cruise doesn’t presently own any Origins and has only ever created them for closed course testing. It’s probable that Cruise will start operations in Dubai with the tried-and-true Chevy Bolts because the firm did not reply to demands for further information in a timely manner.
Given the unique legislative framework of the UAE, it is also unclear how a self-driving service would be implemented in Dubai. In San Francisco, Cruise followed a plan that involved testing its AVs with actual drivers before launching a free service for staff members and then the general public. After testing its fleet without a driver, Cruise started to charge for rides with drivers at the wheel. Before eventually being allowed to charge for its driverless service, the business once more first made its driverless service available to its employees.
Cruise will presumably take some of the same stages in Dubai, but a lot of this procedure was dictated by the stringent legal environment around testing and deploying AVs in California. The city is aggressively incorporating self-driving vehicles into all forms of public transportation, from taxis and metros to buses and shuttles, and it hopes to lead the way in terms of self-driving vehicle regulation and law throughout the world.