Dubai wants a quarter of car trips to be autonomous by 2030

Dubai's Autonomous Transportation Strategy shifts 25 percent of transport to autonomous driving by 2030.

The city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, along with its newly launched Dubai Future Foundation, has set some remarkable smart transportation goals. According to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum — the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Emir of Dubai — the city intends to make 25 percent of its trips driverless by the year 2030 through its Autonomous Transportation Strategy.

The shift to autonomous transport is expected to reduce transportation costs by 44 percent, saving $6 billion a year in accidents, lost productivity, and pollution. Dubai expects to reduce traffic accidents by 12 percent, pollution by 12 percent, and time lost to travel by 396 million hours per year. Dubai is offering what Sheikh Mohammed calls " the world's biggest" request for proposals from research and development centers as part of the Autonomous Transportation Challenge, effectively making Dubai the world's " largest R&D lab for driverless transportation."

To accompany the announcement, the Dubai Future Foundation created a short video (above), called "Dubai's First Driverless Car Experience," to depict what that future might look like.

The video shows a Tesla Model S pulling up to a curb, and riders getting in the back seat. Once inside, they look around to see that there's nobody behind the wheel. A robotic voice greets them, and asks, "Where would you like to go today?" A map appears on the passenger's window — which doubles as a touchscreen — to allow them to select their destination. The wide-eyed, smiling riders are then whisked away by the car without having to worry about navigating traffic or finding a parking space.

Combined with Tesla's driverless technology innovations and its status as a desirable luxury brand (and, now, a lifestyle brand), the Model S is a perfect fit to portray the future of the affluent "City of Gold." Perhaps, though, Local Motors can find a footing in Dubai as well, as the city's plans also include ambitious 3D printing goals.

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