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2getthere to Deliver World's Largest Self-driving Fleet in Dubai

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【Summary】The autonomous network will not only facilitate this journey, but will also help Dubai meet its ambitious goal of having 25 percent of trips supported by driverless platforms by 2035.

Michael Cheng    Mar 21, 2017 9:05 AM PT
2getthere to Deliver World's Largest Self-driving Fleet in Dubai

Outside of the US, self-driving technology is being rolled out at a very rapid pace. One of the most persistent adopters of driverless platforms is Dubai. The government is using autonomous solutions to power its vision of modern cities that are capable of operating with minimal help from local residents. Part of this grand vision, of course, are massive fleets of self-driving vehicles.

Dubai is not deploying these vessels on its own. Instead of developing autonomous driving platforms, which takes years to complete, it has taken a streamlined approach by awarding contracts to foreign companies already equipped with such capacities. Recently, the country awarded a contract to Dutch technology firm 2getthere for the delivery of an industrial automated vehicle system. The network will connect Bluewaters Island with the city's metro stations.

Breaking Records

To date, this project would oversee the delivery of the largest autonomous vehicle fleet in the world. It will be designed to support 25 driverless Group Rapid Transit (GRT) pods with the capacity to usher 24 passengers each to their destination. This equates to a per-hour capacity of 3,350 per direction. Moreover, each trip time will average 4.5 minutes, as it travels on the 2.5 km route.

Bluewaters Dubai is located close to the Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) coastline, opposite The Beach and near Dubai Marina. At the center of the location is Ain Dubai, a record-breaking observation wheel that will tower over the High Roller in Las Vegas and the New York Wheel in Staten Island. The government is expecting flocks of visitors to explore its latest attraction. The autonomous network will not only facilitate this journey, but will also help Dubai meet its ambitious goal of having 25 percent of trips supported by driverless platforms by 2035.

"Fundamentally, advanced transit is the transportation of people (and goods) in a way that is superior to conventional transit," highlighted the Advanced Transit Association, an international non-profit group of which 2getthere is a member.

2getthere's Autonomous Network

If all goes according to plan, the cutting-edge network could be fully operational by the end of 2018 or early 2019. So far, the group has spent close to two years for the design of the prototype vessels. The pods will use very similar technology that is currently being used at Masdar City. The self-driving network leverages heavy-duty magnets to guide the units on a closed-loop route.

But unlike the existing autonomous Masdar transit system, 2getthere's pods will be equipped with a new wave of high caliber sensors for guidance. Its magnetic reader, located under every pod, is capable of real-time measurements, in increments of 50 milliseconds. The company is one of the first pioneers of driverless platforms, with development dating as far back as 1996.

"We believed from the start that our system and technology provided the best fit for the application. It is rewarding to be under contract. The award of the project clearly shows the increased interest in 2getthere's systems throughout the Middle East," said Carel van Helsdingen, CEO of 2getthere.

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