Dubai World Congress for Self-Driving Transport, organised by Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) Dubai, attracted more than 700 technology leaders and innovators as well as 3000 visitors of the accompanying exhibition. The congress focused on cutting-edge technologies, besides discussing and developing a general legislative structure for autonomous transport.
The event was a part of RTA’s efforts in support of the strategy unleashed by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to make 25% of all trips in Dubai smart and driverless by 2030.
The congress is shaping into an all-inclusive global platform for self-driving transport that brings together top experts, policymakers, technology developers, researchers and academia. The event aims to highlight the leading role of Dubai Government in self-driving transport and accelerate the drive to achieve the targets of Dubai Autonomous Transportation Strategy through attracting experts and technologies of self-driving transport to Dubai. The event also aims to raise public awareness about the latest technologies and future trends of transportation as well as identifying the potential impacts on investments and different transport strategies.
Dubai World Challenge for Self-Driving Transport, which carries prize money of $5.1 million attracted 65 entities from 20 countries, 15 of them qualified for the finals. The challenge focused on the first and last-mile challenge of mobility journeys. Five leading companies, three start-ups and seven local and foreign universities qualified for the finals. Qualifying vehicles were subjected to different scenarios and tests on a dedicated track tailor-made for testing such vehicles at the Dubai Silicon Oasis.
Tests carried included stopping at bus stops, forced stop, overtaking a stopping vehicle, overtaking a bike, and dealing with various traffic scenarios such as signals, pedestrian crossing, road works, and sand on road. Tests also covered negotiating a roundabout, handling of humps, rains and high-speed turns.
Nominees for the challenge were qualified on certain parameters including the status, credibility, vision, skills and relevant experience of the entity. They were then subjected to several tests in various categories to assess their performance under six key standards and 18 subsidiary standards. Key standards covered the operation plan, tolerance and reliability, sustainability and energy, customer experience, safety and security, and dealing with road users.
The list of winners was delivered by autonomous delivery bot Roxo developed by FedEx Express in a fitting move with Dubai being selected as the first city outside the USA to host the test of this personal delivery bot. French companies swept the prizes of leading companies amounting to $3 million. Gaussin won the sustainability and energy award, Navya won the durability and reliability award as well as the customers’ experience award.
In the start-ups category the first $1 million went to Sensible 4 from Finland, while the runner-up was iAuto from Taiwan who bagged $500,000 while UAE-based Derq Company finished third.
Amongst the international universities, the winner was Freie Universität Berlin which received $200,000; while Carlos III de Madrid University won second place with $100,000 and the Australian University UTS came third. In the local universities, Dubai University finished first with $200,000; UAE University came second bagging $100,000 and Al Ain University was third.
The Dubai World Challenge for Self-Driving Transport comprised several phases. In February 2018 the challenge was announced, and in October 2018 qualifiers for Phase II were announced. In February 2019, Phase II started and in March tests started at Dubai Silicon Oasis. From April to June this year, a team made overseas visits to Taiwan, Finland, Australia, Germany and Spain to assess start-ups and academia. In July qualifiers arrived in Dubai to collect geographical data about test tracks and draw maps, and in August vehicle tests started on the challenge track. Winners were selected according to results achieved in tests.