Autonomous shuttle and tow-tractor provider EasyMile will be in attendance at the LEAP tech event in Riyadh this week as it confirms its market share in the region.
The company has been steadily building up its engagement in the Middle East with a heavyweight portfolio including:
Work with the Dubai Road and Transport Authority (RTA) since 2016 on numerous shorter projects to longer implementations. These include providing a shuttle as part of Dubai’s Sustainable City goals for a gated community. The driverless service was part of a smart mobility mix aimed at discouraging residents from taking their cars. RTA has also provided driverless shuttle services with EasyMile at locations including downtown Dubai on the Boulevard, and in the city’s Business Bay area.
A strong relationship with The King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) , touted as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s (KSA’s) innovation hub, who are taking bold steps towards smart cities. EasyMile deployed its driverless shuttle at the campus in a project that aims to prove the potential for smart cities elsewhere in the Kingdom, as KSA aims to reduce emissions, increase mobility, and diversify the country’s economy.
As the shuttles operate on campus, KAUST students and researchers are working with EasyMile to monitor vehicle performance, usage rates and user experience in a controlled environment, collecting and measuring data as new features are added. KAUST is exploring versatile, innovative, and zero-emission services for the university community and beyond. EasyMile and KAUST remain in collaboration on new initiatives.
Close work with RATP Dev, Saudi Arabia’s transport leader, who operates metro and bus systems in Riyadh. EasyMile has worked closely with the company since 2017 on several projects worldwide, including the recent pilot scheme for fully automated electric passenger pods at the country’s historic AlUla site to ferry people between its south entrance to the Old Town and south car park. EasyMile’s is one of two shuttles that has been operating at the site since March last year.
Collaboration with Ericsson in the region. The Swedish multinational has a large 5G footprint in KSA, which will be an important factor in the KSA achieving its ambitious Vision 2030 plan to diversify and grow the country’s economy. EasyMile helped the company showcase autonomous driving at LEAP22, with a passenger service at the event and presence on their booth, showing how 5G is an accelerator of scalable and flexible Level 4 autonomy.
Shuttle service for STC – Saudi Telecommunication Company’s campus. One of the world’s first service providers to launch 5G the company worked with EasyMile on driverless employee and visitor transport. The deployment included mixed traffic and was integrated with existing transport means.
Shuttle service at Khalifa University – Abu Dhabi-based research institute home to the Khalifa University Center for Robotics and Autonomous Systems (KU-CARS). Here, an EasyMile driverless passenger shuttle runs on campus to transport students, visitors and staff around the site.
A new project with Saudi Arabia’s Transport General Authority (TGA) that focuses on regulation as well as a driverless shuttle service. More details will be announced soon.
A large part of it is transforming economies. Digital transformation is a key part of how states like UAE and KSA want to grow their economies, with innovations such as artificial intelligence and increased automation essential elements.
Level 4 autonomous transport is a big part of this. Dubai’s Autonomous Transportation Strategy will switch a quarter of the city’s transport to autonomous vehicles – with plans for up to 4,000 driverless taxis by 2023.
Saudi Arabia, where EasyMile is the leading driverless technology provider, could go even further, a central plank of the KSA Vision 2030 (a strategic framework to reduce the country’s dependence on oil, diversify the economy, and develop major public service sectors) is building smart cities. Around US$500 billion is set aside to create a smart city in Neom, which will be fully autonomous for all visitors and residents.
Solving the first and last mile challenge is also key. When modernizing the region’s transport systems, the Middle East faces a particular challenge not necessarily faced in other parts of the world. With temperatures reaching more than 50°C during the summer months, autonomous solutions must be able to perform in these conditions. As well as EasyMile’s dedication to safe and secure travel, and the robust autonomous software and technology it uses, it has now demonstrated its shuttles ability to operate in extreme heat and humidity – essential in the gulf states.
EasyMile is a leader in both its primary growth sectors: material handling and shared passenger transport. Its TractEasy tow-truck solution is commercializing with global original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in its client list. It is also being used at major airports like Changi and Narita. Its people mover solution, the EZ10, is the most-deployed driverless shuttle in the world. It leads the Level 4 “fully driverless” market (completely removing any human attendant onboard and supervising remotely) with more than 10 deployments around the world to date.
This article was originally published by EasyMile.
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