Dubai's Road and Transport Authority (RTA) is planning to test vehicle-to-infrastructure technology by next year where by traffic signals and autonomous cars will be able to communicate with each other, a senior government official has revealed.
The first tests of the driverless vehicle - dubbed "EZ10" - were held last year at Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard in Downtown Dubai, which was later tested across three more locations in the city. The emirate is aiming to have 25% of all its transportation trips through smart and driverless vehicles by 2030.
"Connected infrastructure is one of the things that we are interested in trialling as part of the trials we will do for autonomous cars," Ahmed Bahrozyan, chief executive officer, RTA Licensing Agency, and chairman of the smart vehicles committee, told Arabian Business in an interview.
"We may look at a route that will allow us test autonomous vehicles and it will cross traffic though it may still be on the pavement. We will have a traffic signal at the junction to test how the shuttle bus can talk to the [traffic] signal so when the shuttle bus is approaching the signal will turn red for the incoming traffic and allow the shuttle bus to cross. It will then turn green again."
When asked if Dubai's infrastructure was ready for autonomous vehicles, Bahrozyan said the emirate's traffic signal systems were compatible with autonomous vehicles.
"Remember, self-driving vehicles can run on existing roads without any city having to make major infrastructure changes. This is good for cities because they don't have to invest millions and billions of dirhams to make the infrastructure compatible with self-driving transportation.
"Self-driving cars can actually operate in the city with our current traffic light systems. But imagine a city where the tariff signals are connected and talk to the autonomous vehicles. As a city we will pay attention to this aspect and make our infrastructure smarter where it can talk to autonomous vehicles. We believe any city that does that we will gain an advantage."
Bahrozyan said the move will lead to more "effective and efficient" transportation which will also lead to reducing traffic congestion.