H.H. Sheikh Mohammed issues law on Dubai driverless vehicles

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His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and the Ruler of Dubai has set out a framework of regulations governing driverless vehicles in Dubai.

The law outlines the responsibilities of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) in regulating the sector, which include developing strategic plans and policies to improve the operations of autonomous vehicles in Dubai, identifying categories of autonomous vehicles, and setting technical, operational and safety benchmarks for the vehicles.

The Authority is also responsible for demarcating the roads, areas, and routes that autonomous vehicles operate in, setting their speed limits and providing the framework for managing other aspects of their operations. RTA is also tasked with developing the infrastructure necessary for the operation of autonomous vehicles and the traffic solutions necessary to ensure road safety and avoid traffic disruptions, among others.

RTA is also tasked with issuing licences for autonomous vehicles. A licence issued by the Director General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the RTA is mandatory for conducting any activity related to autonomous vehicles.

The law also specifies the conditions for obtaining a licence for activities related to autonomous vehicles. Key requirements include passing RTA’s technical test and having the technological capability to read road signs.

The law also outlines other procedures, and the responsibilities of operators, agents and passengers. It also defines the obligations of operators of autonomous vehicles in case of accidents. Operators are responsible for covering all damages caused by accidents.

The sale and transfer of autonomous vehicles in Dubai should only be done through authorised agents. The transfer of vehicles from one operator to another is subject to RTA’s pre-approval.

Violators face fines between AED 500 and AED 20,000, which could be doubled in case of repeat violations in the same year. The maximum fine for violations is AED50,000.

According to the Law, all relevant government entities in Dubai are required to cooperate with RTA to help it deliver its responsibilities related to the autonomous vehicles sector.

Provisions of Federal Law No. (21) of 1995 Concerning Road Traffic, its executive regulations and amendments, relevant decisions and any other legislation that replaced them will continue to apply in areas that are not covered by a specific provision of the new law.

Any provision of other legislations that may conflict with the new law will be annulled. Law No. (9) of 2023 will be effective 90 days after its publication in the Official Gazette.  

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