Dubai announces trial of driverless electric abras


Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has launched the trial operation of the first self-driving electric abra.

Manufactured locally at RTA’s Al Garhoud Marine Maintenance Centre, it can carry eight passengers.

It uses an autonomous control system and four lithium batteries that ensures an operating time of seven hours. It also has two electric motors with a maximum speed of seven knots.

The abra features a design that preserves the heritage of abras and uses fibreglass in the hull to reduce weight.

Mattar Al Tayer, Director General, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors, RTA, highlighted that the abras "boasts superb features highlighted by zero carbon emissions, lower operating and maintenance costs by 30 per cent and the elimination of noise compared to diesel-powered models".

According to Al Tayer, during the first trail runs between Al Jaddaf Station and Festival City Station on Dubai Creek, the "Autonomous Electric Abra"  achieved Level 4 out of the 6 levels of the international autonomy levels for ship design and operation.

The move is in line with the RTA's efforts to achieve Dubai's Strategy for Self-Driving Transport that aims to convert 25 per cent of the total mobility journeys in Dubai into self-driving journeys by 2030.

It also contributes to the realisation of Dubai’s master plan to curb carbon emissions of public transport means as per the requirements of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy.

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