UAE completes groundbreaking autonomous taxi trial

Artificial intelligence (AI) geospatial specialist Bayanat has completed a successful trial of its autonomous taxi service, TXAI, in the United Arab Emirates.

The public trials took place on Yas Island, the site of the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix, and saw a total of 2,733 passengers booking through the TXAI app in what the company claimed was the first ever operation of level four autonomous vehicles in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

Bayanat partnered with autonomous driving technology developer WeRide to develop advanced full stack software and hardware solutions as well as operating and monitoring systems for the TXAI app. Via the app, WeRide offers Robotaxi, Mini Robobus and Robovan to provide multiple services including online ride-hailing and on-demand transport.

Chief executive of Bayant, Hasan Al Hosani, said: “The launch of TXAI is the first of its type in the Mena region, and underpins the strength of our partnership with WeRide, a global tech leader in the autonomous driving space.

“We are committed to continuing to work closely with the UAE authorities to build innovative transport systems by making strategic investments across the smart mobility value chain.”

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Al Hosani added that the company was working with the Emirate to launch the second phase of the programme, scheduled for mid-2022, which will include “10 TXAIs operating across numerous Abu Dhabi locations”.

More than 16,600km of autonomous driving was reportedly accomplished in the first phase of the trial. The Emirate trial builds on previous WeRide launches which included China’s first Robotaxi service being made open to the public in Guangzhou in November 2019.

“We are inspired by Bayanat’s commitment to building innovative transport systems,” added WeRide’s founder and CEO Tony Han. “Together we leverage the partnership to make greater impacts for a smart future. Like Thomas Edison invented the light bulb for mankind, WeRide is dedicated to developing the best autonomous driving for all human beings.”

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