Autonomous electric boats

Autonomous electric boats launched in Dubai Bay

The Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has begun testing the first autonomous electric boats (arba) designed to carry eight passengers.

The innovative vessel, which retains its historic identity, has already been spotted in the waters of Dubai Bay. The arba has taken a route from Al Jaddaf Boat Station to Festival City. It is noted that the new boats are silent and produce no harmful carbon emissions.

They are equipped with two electric motors and travel at a maximum speed of seven knots, with four lithium batteries for seven hours of operation and an autonomous electric boats control system. The boat is capable of detecting obstacles in its path and notifying the control centre of any deviation from course or failure.

In April 2023, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, issued a new law on unmanned vehicles in the Emirate of Dubai. Its aim is to accelerate the transformation of intelligent mobility in the emirate and ensure that investment in the sector is attracted.

As stated in the new law, the Roads and Transport Authority will be responsible for developing strategic plans for the deployment of unmanned vehicles. The agency will also determine the technical, operational and safety benchmarks for the vehicles, be responsible for equipping routes for them and developing the necessary infrastructure.

A licence will be required for any activity related to unmanned vehicles. The conditions for obtaining it include passing a technical test and having the technical ability to read road signs. It is specified that operators of autonomous vehicles will be liable to pay for all damages caused by accidents involving them.

The sale and transfer of autonomous vehicles in Dubai will only take place through ‘authorised agents’, and transfers from one operator to another will only be possible after approval by the authority.

Violators of the provisions of the law will face a fine of between AED 500,000 and AED 20,000, which can be doubled if repeated violations occur within one year. The maximum fine for this will be AED 50,000.

Source: Arabian Business

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