WeRide autonomous vehicles can drive nationwide in the UAE

    If you want to do anything in the United Arab Emirates, then having the blessing of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, is a great place to start.

    The UAE has approved the first national license for self-driving vehicles. While other parts of the world like China and the US have regions approved for driverless vehicles, this is the first time an entire country has approved their use.

    The license was granted to Chinese-based autonomous driving company, WeRide. This comes after the company successfully completed more than a year of public testing and operations on certain roads in the UAE.

    WeRide’s mission is to “create a safe, efficient, and convenient mobility experience for everyone.”

    As far as a technology stack, the company is on it’s 5th generation vehicles and is based on a combination of LiDAR, cameras, and radar. In the video below, we see the vehicle navigate city streets during rush hour in Guangzhou, China.

    This approval in the UAE will be a good opporunity to see how the technology scales, as the big criticism with an approach that relies on HD mapping, is that scanning and scaling is slow, made more complex by regulation. With the regulation effectively out of the way, the rollout of serices by WeRide across the UAE is certianly one to watch.

    WeRide is operating one of the world’s largest autonomous driving fleets in more than 25 cities around the world, and has conducted over 1 million miles of testing on public roads in China.

    Globally, WeRide offers commercial services, so these are not cars you can purchase, but rather vehicles that can be used by consumers like a Robotaxi, along with commercial vehicles like street sweepers.

    Dubai aims to have around 25% of its transportation achieved fully autonomous operation by 2030, which is the most agressive we’ve heard to date.

    On June 29th, the Integrated Transport Centre (ITC) in Abu Dhabi announced that as part of the Eid al-Adha holiday services, visitors to Saadiyat Island and Yas Island in Abu Dhabi can experience free autonomous driving car services, including a model called “TXAI,” which is launched in collaboration between WeRide and the local listed company Bayanat.

    WeRide has been actively expanding its autonomous driving products and services internationally, with the Middle East being one of its key focus areas. In March of this year, WeRide officially established its presence in the China-UAE Indurtial Capacity Cooperation Demonstration Zone, forming a local team to further accelerate the commercialization of autonomous driving technology in the UAE region.

    In addition to the rapid progress in the UAE, WeRide has also achieved remarkable results in Saudi Arabia. In September 2022, WeRide showcased at the 2022 Global Artificial Intelligence Summit held in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, and announced its collaboration with the Saudi Artificial Intelligence Company (SCAI) to launch the first dynamic robobus route in Saudi Arabia.

    Jason Cartwright
    Jason Cartwright
    Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021

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