Earlier this year, Tesla promised Dubai a fleet of 200 self-driving Model S/X vehicles to serve as taxis and this week the innovative Middle Eastern city welcomed the first fifty of those cars. It is not known whether the cars will be used for their self-driving capability right away. Authorities at the launch emphasized the Autopilot feature instead, stating that it will reduce the workload of the driver and make highway driving a more pleasurable experience.
HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, who serves as President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Dubai Airports, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline & Group, and Chairman of Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, said at the launch event, “The RTA has recently taken delivery of 50 Tesla vehicles as part of a deal for 200 vehicles signed last February on the sidelines of the World Government Summit 2017. Accordingly, 75 vehicles will be supplied in 2018, and 75 others to be delivered in 2019. The Dubai Taxi Corporation has coordinated with the concerned parties to provide the needed infrastructure to ensure the operation of these vehicles including the provision of 13 electric recharging stations.” A new system has been implemented to order the taxi at the airport.
Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the Roads & Transport Authority (RTA), said, “Tesla vehicles procured by the RTA of Models (S) and (X) 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.”