Self-driven minibuses make a debut on the streets of downtown Dubai [Pictures/Video]


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SELF-DRIVING BUS: Developed jointly by French group Easy Mile and Dubai-based Omnix, the new self-driving minibus is powered by an electric motor and can reach speeds of 40km/h. Image: Online

A driverless bus service was unveiled in downtown Dubai on Thursday in a month-long trial period for the electric vehicle with a view to expanding it across the futuristic Gulf city state.

The autonomous EZ10, jointly launched by Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority and the Emaar Properties, can carry up to 10 passengers to travel short distances over pre-programmed routes, according to Xinhua News Agency. It can travel at a high speed of 40km per hour.

The 10-seat vehicle made its first trip on Thursday along a 700-metre stretch of road in downtown Dubai, near to the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower.

EZ10Developed jointly by French group Easy Mile and Dubai-based Omnix, the minibus is powered by an electric motor.




The new ride is free to public during the test run, and after the trial run the vehicles are expected to be used as shuttle buses between the city’s most iconic tourist attractions, including the Burj Khalifa and Mall of the Emirates, among others.

Its developers say the bus can adapt its speed to the surrounding environment and even come to a complete halt if a pedestrian were to cross its path, thanks to cutting-edge guidance technology.

It can be programmed to navigate between Dubai’s main tourist attractions, including the Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Mall, Dubai Opera and the Souk al-Bahar shopping centre, the emirate’s Road Transport Authority (RTA) said in a statement.

The test run was “the first and very important stage in our efforts to introduce this type of vehicle into Dubai’s transport network,” RTA official Ahmed Bahrozyan told AFP.




VIDEO COURTESY: AFP

According to Mattar al-Tayer, the RTA’s director general, the transport authority aimed to have a quarter of all Dubai transport automated by 2030.

Dubai is a leading tourist destination in the Gulf, attracting 14.2 million visitors in 2015.

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