Jul 5, 2023, 6:41am EDT
techMiddle East

What to know: UAE grants national license for autonomous vehicles

WeRide’s autonomous minibus is shown at a convention.

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The News

The United Arab Emirates granted its first nationwide license for self-driving cars. The permit was given to the Chinese company WeRide, allowing it to test its autonomous vehicles on roads across the country.

Here are two insights into why the UAE is betting on self-driving vehicles.

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  • The UAE’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum hopes to see 25% of Dubai’s transportation autonomous by 2030. The country has been testing autonomous vehicles for several years, and while WeDrive is the first to receive a national license, the UAE has also given the greenlight to San Francisco-based Cruise to develop and eventually test its robotaxis on Dubai’s streets. Cruise hopes to launch this year. — TechCrunch
  • While the UAE has historically been linked to oil, the country may be trying to change its image from an energy nation to a tech-forward one. It has increasingly made inroads as a global tech incubator, and future plans in the country center artificial intelligence and big data projects. — Forbes
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Know More

WeRide’s cars are classed as Level 4 autonomous vehicles, meaning they can drive without a human operator.

Earlier this year, the company was granted authorization to test its autonomous minibuses in Beijing.

The company is one of the best-funded robotaxi companies in China, and quietly filed an IPO in the U.S. earlier this year. Last year, the company offered test rides of its minibus in Saudi Arabia.