Dubai Plans to Roll Out a Smart Car Rental Service for Tech-Savvy Consumers
【Summary】Compared to fuel-dependent cars, the number of smart vehicles on the road are extremely low. Dubai hopes to address such issues by offering a unique smart car rental service to consumers who are interested in connected vehicles. The service, which was unveiled during the 36th Gitex Technology Week event, will be led by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).
By Michael Cheng
According to a report published by the Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research, demand for electric vehicles is steadily increasing. The survey revealed that there were over 320,000 new smart car registrations in 2014. Out of all the countries that participated in the study, China is currently leading the group with an impressive 120 percent growth rate, thanks to 54,000 early adopters of connected vehicles.
Compared to fuel-dependent cars, the number of smart vehicles on the road are extremely low. Dubai hopes to address such issues by offering a unique smart car rental service to consumers who are interested in connected vehicles. The service, which was unveiled during the 36th Gitex Technology Week event, will be led by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).
Improving Smart Car Accessibility
The service is designed to offer short-term support for tech-savvy commuters. Individuals interested stepping into a smart car through the program must first register with the institution. The rental system is hourly based, with a maximum usage period of six hours. After completing registration, individuals will need to pick the car up from a public lot and return it to a kiosk conveniently located near a metro station. This service model would allow consumers to use the vehicle to drive to work, instead of taking a train or bus.
"The smart rental system supports the RTA's efforts in raising the ridership of mass transit means, and boosting the integration of transportation systems. It facilitates the mobility of public transport commuters, especially Metro riders, in reaching their final destinations," said Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the RTA.
Six hours may not seem like a lot of time for people who are looking for an immersive smart car experience. It is important to consider that, for now, the vehicles will only be applied to ease mass transit congestion. The RTA did not clarify its plans to extended the hours of the rental service.
Plugging into the City
To support its connected car service, the RTA plans to introduce several smart city-related infrastructure and processes to the public. This includes a cutting-edge parking system that provides suggestions to drivers, based on availability and distance to the entrance of the building or destination. Al Tayer confirmed that the program could help reduce congestion in busy parking lots, as well as decrease time spent looking for vacant slots.
The establishment will also roll out smart lighting systems with enhanced security surveillance features and controls. By upgrading its current street lights, the group hopes to reduce power consumption and maintenance, while improving the overall lifespan of the public luminaries. For bus riders, the RTA will introduce a new smart ticketing system that will remove the need to tap cards on a scanner during boarding.
"RTA is also showcasing a smart system for monitoring the condition of bus drivers while driving branded as Raqeeb. It is a smart device fitted in front of the bus driver to detect any signs of fatigue, exhaustion or illness the driver may undergo while sitting behind the wheels. The system helps avoid accidents that could possibly undermine the safety of riders or have a direct impact on the operational efficiency of buses in terms of on-time arrivals," explained Al Tayer.
Michael Cheng is a legal editor and technical writer with publications for Blackberry ISHN Magazine Houzz and Payment Week. He specializes in technology business and digesting hard data. Outside of work Michael likes to train for marathons spend time with his daughter and explore new places.
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