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10 December 2023

RTA hosts Dubai World Congress for Self-Driving Transport

Published
By WAM

Under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, and Chairman of the Executive Council, the third edition of the Dubai World Congress for Self-Driving Transport is set to kick off on 26th September, 2023, at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

The event is the first of its kind in the Middle East, and this edition is held under the theme: "Empowering Mobility 4.0." The opening day of the congress will see the honouring of the winners of the Dubai World Challenge for Self-Driving Transport, and this edition is focused on "Self-Driving Buses."

Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), extended a warm welcome to all participants and attendees of the Dubai World Congress and Challenge for Self-Driving Transport. He expressed his wishes for attendees to have an enjoyable stay in the UAE and for the congress to fulfil its desired objectives. “RTA’s hosting of the congress, challenge, and accompanying exhibition are consistent with its efforts to realise Dubai’s Smart Self-Driving Transport Strategy aimed to transform 25 percent of mobility journeys in Dubai into smart and driverless journeys by 2030,” Al Tayer commented.

“The congress is a global platform for autonomous mobility that brings together experts, specialists, policymakers, technology developers, researchers, and academicians to exchange ideas and visions between global leaders of innovation and technology connected to autonomous vehicles. It seeks to explore top practices and exchange ideas in discussion panels, seminars, and workshops to review the latest developments and innovations in autonomous mobility. Furthermore, the congress aims to elevate community awareness of the latest and future transportation technologies and gauge their impact on investments and mobility strategies,” Al Tayer explained.

The congress, which is run over two days, has attracted about 2,000 participants from around the world. The congress features 53 speakers and encompasses 18 seminars and workshops, eight discussion panels, five parallel sessions, and two knowledge sessions hosted by the International Society of Automotive Engineers. It includes top executives, researchers, experts, and developers of autonomous mobility technology.

Sam Rogers (Flying Man), Chief Designer and Test Pilot at Gravity Industries, will be the keynote speaker of the opening session of the congress. He will discuss the future of mobility in the Gravity Jet Suit. Stephen Shladover, an international expert in driverless transport technology, will deliver the closing speech on the first day. On the second day, Dr. Marko Bjelonic, Founder of Swiss Mile Company, will give the keynote address, while Duncan Walker, CEO and Co-Founder of Skyports, will deliver the closing speech of the congress.

Dubai’s Challenge

The opening day of the congress will witness the felicitation of the winners of the 3rd edition of the Dubai World Challenge for Self-Driving Transport, the first of its kind in the world. It carries a total purse of US$2.3 million, with $2 million for the Industry Leaders category and $300,000 for the Local Academia category.

The third edition of the challenge saw a surge in participation across both categories. A total of 27 applications were submitted from all over the world, surpassing the target by 130 percent for the Industry Leaders category and 175 percent for the Local Academia category. Ten local and international firms made it to the final round of the Dubai World Challenge for Self-Driving Transport, which focuses on Self-Driving Buses in the categories of Industry Leaders and Local Academia.

Five international firms had qualified for the final stage in the Industry Leaders category: Alexander Dennis (United Kingdom), Bright Drive (Egypt), King Long (China), Quadribot (France), and iAuto Technology (Taiwan). Five universities were selected for the finals in the Local Academia category: Heriot-Watt University, Dubai, Khalifa University – Abu Dhabi, University of Dubai, University of Bolton - Ras Al Khaimah, and the American University of Sharjah.

Tests

Companies that qualified for the Dubai World Challenge for Self-Driving Transport underwent unified tests prepared by global experts. They comprised basic and advanced tests covering traffic safety, maturity of the autonomous technology used in buses, user convenience, credibility and forward vision of the participating entity, the extent of innovation and skills, relevant expertise, the commercial aspect of operability, and value addition.

Tests for the Industry Leaders category were conducted at a designated site at the Dubai Silicon Oasis in collaboration with the Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority to ensure all safety protocols were met.

In the Local Academia category tests, each university showcased its prototype at its campus. The assessment was guided by the university’s solutions for enhancing passenger service, integrating autonomous buses, and the maturity of proposed solutions.

40 Exhibitors

The congress is accompanied by a special exhibition for self-driving transport in which 40 exhibitors representing leading companies are participating. The list includes General Motors’ Cruise, the Arabian Gulf Mechanical Centre, United Motors and Heavy Equipment Company, Ruptella, SGS Gulf, Al Naboodah, Trapeze, Minus Zero, Dubai Technology, Talabat, and Bystrak. These companies will showcase the latest technologies in smart and sustainable mobility. Visitors will have the opportunity to learn about the features of Cruise autonomous vehicles, which will be launched in Dubai at the end of this year in cooperation with Cruise, the leading manufacturer of autonomous vehicles.

Sponsors

RTA co-hosts the Dubai World Congress and Challenge for Self-Driving Transport with the Dubai Integrated Economic Zones Authority (DIES), the Museum of the Future, and the International Society of Automotive Engineers.

The congress is sponsored by United Motors and Heavy Equipment Company, Swaidan Trading Company - Al Naboodah, Arabian Gulf Mechanical Centre, Trapeze Middle East, Mappable, Dubai Taxi, Talabat, Aminco Security Services LLC, Dollar Car Rental, and the Khatib & Alami - Consolidated Engineering Company.