Cruise Starts Mapping Dubai for Self-Driving Taxis

Cruise is set to launch its autonomous driving service in Dubai

Cruise begins mapping out Dubai for self-driving taxis
Cruise is set to launch its autonomous driving service in Dubai
Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has confirmed that the company has deployed two of its Chevrolet Bolt self-driving vehicles in the emirate to begin digital mapping ahead of the scheduled start of operations.

The city will be the first outside America where Cruise will operate its robotaxi service after the General Motors subsidiary signed a deal with the RTA last year.

The partnership is just one of many initiatives being pursued by UAE leader Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who aims to make Dubai a world leader in autonomous transport, with a goal of 25% of all journeys being driverless by 2030.

Two Chevy Bolts moved in with human security drivers and began mapping Dubai’s famous Jumeirah area, an area near the beach that consists of residential properties and hotels.

Equipped with a range of sensors including radar, lidar sensors, and cameras, they are tasked with collecting data as they drive around Dubai, which will be used to create the digital mapping that Cruise’s autonomous vehicles require to operate safely. Interestingly, the Dubai authorities have suggested that Cruise operations begin with the Origin, rather than the better-known Bolt.

“The preparation of digital maps is an important step in the process of operating Cruise Origin’s self-driving vehicles, which will be deployed in limited numbers next year to offer taxi services and e-Hail,” said Mattar Al Tayer, Director General of the Roads and Transport Authority. “We have plans to gradually increase the number of deployed vehicles to 4,000 vehicles by 2030.”

The Origin is a people box with no steering wheel, mirrors or pedals, and Cruise describes it as “a new transportation experience designed exclusively for riders.” Just last week, it was revealed that the company had applied to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for permission to test the Origin on US roads.

The ground-breaking driverless robotaxi service that was recently launched in San Francisco uses Bolts.

Dubai has become one of the most active cities in the world in the pursuit of autonomous transport. In June, it launched a call for driverless bus development at the annual Dubai World Transport Congress.

And in March, local police unveiled a driverless patrol car concept that uses machine learning to detect suspected criminal activity.