China’s WeRide obtains self-driving vehicle license in UAE

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China’s autonomous driving company, WeRide, has received the first national license for self-driving vehicles in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The license allows WeRide to conduct tests of its Level 4 autonomous vehicles on public roads across the country. Level 4 autonomy means that the vehicle can handle all aspects of driving under certain conditions without human intervention.

The granting of this license is in line with UAE ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s vision of achieving 25% fully autonomous transportation in the country by 2030. As part of this vision, the UAE’s Council of Ministers has also approved WeRide’s permit alongside a national policy for electric vehicles (EVs). The policy includes the development of a national charging network, regulations for the EV market, and the stimulation of related industries like autonomous vehicles (AVs) to reduce emissions and preserve the quality of roads.

The UAE, particularly the city of Dubai, has been a hub for various driverless vehicle trials. Since 2019, Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has organized the World Conference on Self-Driving Transport, which brings together industry leaders in the autonomous driving space. This year’s conference, scheduled for September, will feature a competition where companies and academic institutions showcase their autonomous bus solutions.

The RTA has set a goal of reducing the number of vehicles on Dubai’s roads and expanding robotaxi operations to 4,000 vehicles by 2030. The city has also welcomed Cruise, a subsidiary of General Motors, to test and develop robotaxis. Cruise has been mapping Dubai since July 2022 and plans to launch its purpose-built robotaxi, Cruise Origins, on the city’s streets later this year.

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WeRide, in its statement, mentioned that it will begin testing all types of self-driving vehicles in the UAE. The company aims to commercialize its autonomous driving technology across various vehicle types, including robotaxis, robobuses, robovans, and autonomous street sweepers.

WeRide has been conducting robotaxi tests on certain public roads in the UAE over the past year. Moreover, the company has expressed its interest in expanding to Saudi Arabia, announcing plans to collaborate with the Saudi Artificial Intelligence Company to launch a robobus route in the country.

While it is unclear what regulatory requirements companies need to meet to test, deploy, and commercialize autonomous vehicles in the UAE, the testing process will be overseen by the RegLab, an initiative by the General Secretariat of the Cabinet. In the United States and China, where most autonomous vehicle testing occurs, regulation is more decentralized, with local governments taking the lead.

For instance, in California and Arizona, two states with significant AV testing and commercialization, regulatory requirements differ. In California, companies must obtain permits from the Department of Motor Vehicles and the California Public Utilities Commission to test, deploy, and charge for rides with or without human safety drivers. WeRide currently holds these permits from the DMV. In contrast, Arizona only requires companies to self-certify that their vehicles can safely come to a stop in case of a system malfunction.

By securing the first national license for self-driving vehicles in the UAE, WeRide is taking a significant step towards advancing autonomous driving technology and contributing to the UAE’s goal of achieving a significant portion of fully autonomous transportation by 2030.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Related to the Above News

What is WeRide?

WeRide is a Chinese autonomous driving company that develops and tests self-driving vehicles.

What type of license did WeRide obtain in the UAE?

WeRide obtained the first national license for self-driving vehicles in the UAE.

What does the license allow WeRide to do?

The license allows WeRide to conduct tests of its Level 4 autonomous vehicles on public roads across the UAE.

What does Level 4 autonomy mean?

Level 4 autonomy means that the vehicle can handle all aspects of driving under certain conditions without human intervention.

Why did the UAE grant WeRide the license?

The granting of the license is in line with UAE ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum's vision of achieving 25% fully autonomous transportation in the country by 2030.

What other measures has the UAE taken to promote autonomous vehicles?

The UAE's Council of Ministers has approved WeRide's permit alongside a national policy for electric vehicles (EVs), which includes developing a national charging network, regulations for the EV market, and stimulating industries related to autonomous vehicles.

What has been happening in Dubai regarding autonomous vehicles?

Dubai has been a hub for various driverless vehicle trials, and the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has organized the World Conference on Self-Driving Transport, bringing industry leaders together. The city aims to reduce the number of vehicles on its roads and expand robotaxi operations to 4,000 vehicles by 2030.

What other autonomous vehicle companies are operating in Dubai?

Cruise, a subsidiary of General Motors, is testing and developing robotaxis in Dubai, with plans to launch its purpose-built robotaxi later this year.

What types of vehicles does WeRide aim to commercialize?

WeRide aims to commercialize its autonomous driving technology across various vehicle types, including robotaxis, robobuses, robovans, and autonomous street sweepers.

Is WeRide planning to expand to other countries in the region?

Yes, WeRide has expressed its interest in expanding to Saudi Arabia and has announced plans to collaborate with the Saudi Artificial Intelligence Company to launch a robobus route in the country.

How will the testing process be overseen in the UAE?

The testing process will be overseen by the RegLab, an initiative by the General Secretariat of the Cabinet, although specific regulatory requirements for testing, deploying, and commercializing autonomous vehicles in the UAE are not clear.

How do regulations for autonomous vehicles differ in the United States and China?

In the United States, companies need to obtain permits from the Department of Motor Vehicles and other regulatory bodies to test, deploy, and charge for rides with autonomous vehicles, while in China, the process is more decentralized, with local governments taking the lead in regulation.

What is WeRide's status in terms of regulatory compliance in the United States?

WeRide currently holds permits from the California Department of Motor Vehicles to test and deploy autonomous vehicles in California.

Please note that the FAQs provided on this page are based on the news article published. While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, it is always recommended to consult relevant authorities or professionals before making any decisions or taking action based on the FAQs or the news article.

Advait Gupta
Advait Gupta
Advait is our expert writer and manager for the Artificial Intelligence category. His passion for AI research and its advancements drives him to deliver in-depth articles that explore the frontiers of this rapidly evolving field. Advait's articles delve into the latest breakthroughs, trends, and ethical considerations, keeping readers at the forefront of AI knowledge.

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