Finalists announced for RTA's self-driving challenge

Dubai World Challenge for Self-Driving Transport will find solution for 'last mile' of Dubai transport

Tags: Autonomous vehicleRoads and Transport AuthorityUnited Arab Emirates
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Finalists announced for RTA's self-driving challenge The Dubai World Challenge for Self-Driving Transport is intended to find ideas to support the development of transport in the emirate, says Al Tayer.
By  Mark Sutton Published  October 28, 2018

The Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) has announced the finalists for the first Dubai World Challenge for Self-Driving Transport.

The finalists are now in with a chance to win prize funds of up to $3 million, and to see their ideas become part of Dubai's integrated, autonomous transport network.

The Dubai World Challenge has been set up as a biannual contest to find new ideas for self-driving transportation. The 2018-2019 competition is intended to find ideas for the ‘first mile/ last mile' of transport in the city.

The competition has three categories - Leaders, for established companies; Startups, for new companies; and universities, both local and international, to gather ideas from academia.

The finalists of the Leaders Category are Navya and EasyMile from France; Drive.ai from the USA; Westfield from the UK; Baidu from China, and 2getthere from the Netherlands.

The start-ups finalists are Sensible from Finland; Derq from the UAE; and IAuto from Taiwan.

The local university finalists include Dubai University, UAE University, Al Ain University of Science and Technology, and Abu Dhabi University, while international university finalists are Friee Berlin University in Germany, CMU in the US, Intelligent Systems Lab at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid in Spain, and UTS in Australia represent the finalists of this category.

All of the finalists will now undergo a testing process for their technology, which will take place ‘on site' in Dubai, and rigorous assessment by an expert panel. The final winners will be announced at the first Dubai World Conference for Self-Driving Transport which will take place in October 2019.

The competition is looking to identify autonomous transport systems that can address the first mile/last mile gap, where existing transport systems like the Dubai Metro cannot connect users for the first and last part of their journey. The finalist of the competition will provide technology which will be commercialised and deployed in the emirate to fill this gap.

HE Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), and Chairman of the Dubai World Congress for Self-Driving Transport commented: "The Dubai World Challenge for Self-Driving Transport aims to broaden the use of self-driving transport. It seeks to encourage the leading companies to cope with the existing challenges of the First and Last Mile, traffic congestions and the drop in the public transport ridership. The driverless transport has become a key pillar of RTA's strategy, and we are making every endeavour to make it a reality in Dubai."

Al Tayer also noted that applications for the contest had been 30% over target.

"The Challenge targeted leading companies, start-ups as well as local and international universities. Its total award amount is more than five million dollars, $3 million will be allocated to leaders category; $1.5m to start-ups category; and $600,000 to local and foreign universities ($300,000 each). A team of international experts in the field of smart mobility will assess the finalists by several technical criteria," he added.

Ms. Laila Faridoon, Chairperson of the Organising Committee of the Dubai World Congress for Self-Driving Transport, and Executive Director, DG Office, RTA, said that the process of assessing the finalists will also work in parallel with the process of developing legislation to govern self-driving transport in the UAE, which was begun last year.

Assessment of the finalists will include testing across three factors of technical ability and experience, including vehicle manufacturing, flexibility, battery technology, and the command & control system; business, including operability, added value, and relevance to the needs of Dubai and the UAE; and operation & service including innovative solutions, operation method, the ability to run services and working hours.

The proposed transport solutions will be tested for durability and reliability, ability to drive under traffic conditions simulating the reality, power efficiency and environmental compatibility, electronic safety and security and user's experience.

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