Dubai’s transport authority has signed an agreement with US-based automaker Tesla to buy 200 electric vehicles fitted with autonomous driving technology.
The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) said that the new vehicles will be added to the limousine fleet of the Dubai Taxi Corporation (DTC).
The deal was inked on the sidelines of the World Government Summit 2017 in Dubai by Mattar Al Tayer, director general and chairman of the RTA and Elon Musk, chairman and CEO of Tesla Inc.
“This agreement is… part of the Dubai Smart Autonomous Mobility Strategy aimed at transforming 25 percent of total journeys in Dubai into autonomous journeys by 2030,” said Al Tayer.
The agreement was signed the same day Tesla began selling its electric cars in Dubai, marking its first foray into the Middle East.
Tesla’s move to open an office in Dubai for distributing and maintaining its vehicles is welcomed by Al Tayer. He added that the RTA would carry out a test run of Tesla autonomous electric vehicles as part of the Dubai Taxi limo fleet.
The RTA will purchase Model S sedans and Model X SUVs from Tesla for the program. Tesla said that the Model S and the Model X vehicles purchased by RTA are equipped with the hardware needed for full self-driving capability at a safety level “greater than that of a human driver”.
“Tesla’s Autopilot is designed as a hands-on experience to give drivers more confidence behind the wheel, increase their safety on the road, and make highway driving more enjoyable by reducing the driver’s workload,” the company added.
Dubai showed off its vision for a driverless future in April when it released a video of a person hailing a self-driving Tesla taxi. The modified Tesla came with an augmented reality map that let passengers select where they want to go.
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