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Dubai key to GM’s $50bn driverless car plans

Dubai key to General Motors’ $50bn global driverless vehicle target Dubai Media Office
Dubai will become the first city outside the US to offer Cruise’s driverless taxi services
  • Dubai wants 4,000 driverless taxis by 2030
  • Self-driving buses also part of emirate’s plans
  • GM’s Cruise division currently operates 300 ‘robotaxis’

General Motors aims to generate $50 billion a year in revenues from driverless cars, with Dubai positioned as a key market in the company’s “robust” global plans.

Speaking at a Sanford Bernstein conference in New York, GM chair and CEO Mary Barra said there is a “giant growth opportunity” in the company’s Cruise autonomous vehicle (AV) division.

The $50 billion target would be achieved by expanding the Cruise technology outside the US, she said.

“It’s a pretty detailed business plan that they have,” Barra told delegates this week. “But remember, we also have an exclusive arrangement in Dubai. It’s people movement. It’s goods movement.

“I don’t want to give you our whole strategy between now and 2030, but I would say it’s a very robust plan.”

Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) signed an agreement in 2021 with GM whereby Cruise would operate self-driving taxis and road-hailing services in the emirate.

Mattar Al Tayer, director general of RTA, told delegates at the 64th UITP Global Public Transport Summit in Barcelona that as of 2022 over 10 percent of total trips in the emirate had transformed to driverless modes, primarily through the Dubai Metro’s operations. 

He added that Cruise autonomous vehicles to provide taxi and e-hail ride services will be introduced by the end of the year. 

Dubai will become the first city outside the US to offer Cruise’s driverless taxi services, with a goal of putting 4,000 AVs on the road by 2030.

A deal was also previously struck with Honda for Cruise to be available in Japan.

The Dubai Smart Mobility Strategy aims to convert 25 percent of total journeys into trips via self-driving transportation by 2030, including driverless rail transport.

Digital maps were created in the emirate last year in preparation for their launch.

As well as taxis, the Dubai government is also focusing on self-driving buses.

Cruise was one of two operators to receive a permit to offer paid driverless taxi services in California in 2021.

Cruise began offering services within designated areas of San Francisco early last year, but only between the hours of 22:00 and 06:00. The company now operates 300 robotaxis across San Francisco, Austin and Phoenix.

“At this point in time the RTA is perhaps the only public transport authority in the world that is developing an ecosystem to put 4,000 driverless taxis on the road in one city,” Carrington Malin, a Dubai-based consultant focused on emerging technologies, said.

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