The Department of Municipalities and Transport (DMT) signed a cooperation agreement with Bayanat, a G42 company, leader in the geospatial domain since 2008. Under this agreement, DMT and Bayanat will cooperate in the trial operations of autonomous vehicles for transporting passengers in Abu Dhabi. This agreement supports the strategy of DMT for smart transport and developing innovative mobility solutions to reinforce the efforts of the entity, through its Integrated Transport Centre (ITC). ITC is responsible for establishing the necessary infrastructure for the use of self-driving vehicles within an integrated and sustainable transport system, to improve the quality of services provided to residents and visitors of the Emirate, while supporting local development and infrastructure.
The agreement was signed by H.E. Abdulla Al Marzouqi, Director General for Integrated Transport Centre, and Mr. Hasan Al Hosani, CEO of Bayanat company with presence of H.E. Falah Al Ahbabi, Chairman of DMT, H.E. Abdulla Al Sahi, Undersecretary of DMT and H.E. Mansoor AlMansoori, COO of G42.
Commenting on the signing of the agreement, H.E. Abdulla Al Marzouqi, Director General of ITC, said that the launch of the operational phase of autonomous vehicles in Abu Dhabi Emirate comes within the development and innovation framework. This cooperation with Bayanat contributes to reformulating transport concepts and the future of the sector by establishing a smart transport system that improves the quality of services, makes transport easier and enhance the traffic safety.
Al Marzouqi pointed out that the agreement signed with Bayanat provides the opportunity for the private sector, a vital strategic partner in the local development process, to participate in the development of the smart transport sector and support the current and future programs and projects to further develop this sector and enable it to keep pace with the successive changes it is witnessing.
The agreement stipulates the establishment of the Autonomous Vehicles Program in coordination with the DMT and in cooperation between ITC and Bayanat, for the launch of the trial operations of self-driving vehicles in two phases.
The first phase includes three vehicles operating in the main area of Yas Island in the pick-up and drop-off points in hotels, restaurants, shopping malls and offices, while the second phase includes more than 10 vehicles in multiple locations across Abu Dhabi. The service will be free of cost in both phases, and will be provided from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, with the presence of a safety officer in the driving seat, to facilitate the operation and intervene in the event of any sudden occurrence to ensure the highest security and safety standards.
Bayanat will provide comprehensive support to the program, including vehicle safety testing, central security and operation management platform, as well as overseeing the autonomous vehicle operations for the purpose of complying with traffic laws and its executive regulations in the UAE. This initiative aligns with the company’s vision of becoming the key enabler of a smart transport ecosystem with enhanced connectivity and accessibility of all transport modes.
Commenting on the cooperation, Mr. Hasan Al Hosani, CEO of Bayanat said, “Our partnership with DMT and ITC opens up new and exciting opportunities to transform the transport sector, improve road safety, energy consumption, traffic congestion and revolutionizing the way people live, work and travel.”
Al Hosani added that Self-driving vehicles heavily rely on geospatial data, advanced mapping and artificial intelligence capabilities and Bayanat has the right mix of expertise and technology to contribute to the growth of this industry in the UAE and beyond.
The two parties will also cooperate within the framework of the signed agreement to explore trends in the autonomous vehicle industry, the latest technologies and innovative solutions in the field, and lay the basic infrastructure for autonomous vehicles in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, including but not limited to, a high-resolution map and identification sites with high-precision technology and the field of testing for Autonomous Vehicles Certification and Infrastructure technology, which tests the technology of the vehicle's connection to its surroundings, as well as exploring other opportunities for cooperation in the research and development of autonomous vehicles, and the development of test surfaces. This includes testing of many other experiences of autonomous vehicles for passengers.
DMT will work in coordination and cooperation with relevant stakeholders, to lay down the legislative, regulatory and supervisory infrastructure necessary for the use of autonomous vehicles, review and approve the necessary outlets, roadside infrastructure and methods for testing autonomous vehicles, oversee aspects related to safety and training, and issue permits. This includes preparing the necessary regulations and manuals for self-driving vehicles in Abu Dhabi, especially for level 3 and 4 (levels for automating self-driving vehicles), and adopting electronic security standards for smart transport, which guarantee the security of communications and software used in the autonomous vehicle, and any additional necessary measures to ensure the highest levels of safety, security and operational efficiency in this sector.
It is worth mentioning that autonomous vehicles are able to sense the surrounding environment and navigate without human intervention, and rely on mapping algorithms and data obtained from multiple built-in sensors to determine the path of the road. Typical sensors include technical systems similar to radars, and a stereoscopic vision system, Geographic Positioning System (GPS), Optical Object Recognition System, and Real-time Positioning System.