Dubai: Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has commenced a trial operation of the “First Autonomous Electric Abra,” a locally manufactured vessel designed to carry eight passengers. Produced at the RTA’s Al Garhoud Marine Maintenance Centre, this innovative abra showcases a design that honors the traditional identity of abras while integrating modern technology.
The maiden voyage of the autonomous electric abra took place from Al Jaddaf Station to Festival City Station on Dubai Creek. During the trial run, the abra achieved Level 4 out of the six international autonomy levels for ship design and operation. The trials were conducted in collaboration with Exalto Emirates and Marakeb companies as well as involved executing fully autonomous procedures, eliminating the need for direct captain intervention. The captain’s role was limited to serving as an operational supervisor, intervening only if necessary.
Mr. Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors, RTA stated that, “The operation of the Abra is aligned with the RTA’s efforts to achieve Dubai’s Strategy for Self-Driving Transport that aims to convert 25 percent of the total mobility journeys in Dubai into self-driving journeys by 2030. It also contributes to the realisation of Dubai’s master plan to curb carbon emissions of public transport means as per the requirements of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy.”
The autonomous procedures ensured 100 percent adherence to the predetermined route, accounting for the effects of waves and wind. Additionally, the procedures included obstacle detection along the navigational path, alerting the control center about any system defects or deviations from the operating plan, intervening in the event of obstacles during the journey, and programming additional scenarios to handle unforeseen situations.
The successful trial of the autonomous electric abra marks a significant milestone in Dubai’s transportation landscape. It highlights the city’s commitment to embracing cutting-edge technologies and integrating them into its traditional modes of transportation. By incorporating autonomous capabilities into the iconic abra, Dubai aims to enhance the efficiency and reliability of its public transportation system while preserving its cultural heritage.
The RTA’s foray into autonomous electric abra technology demonstrates its ongoing efforts to shape Dubai as a global leader in intelligent and sustainable transportation. As the trial progress, the RTA will continue to evaluate and refine the autonomous system, paving the way for a future where autonomous electric abras become a common sight on Dubai’s waterways.