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Mobility Live Middle East panel discussion look into future of autonomous mobility

Mobility Live Middle East panel discussion look into future of autonomous mobility
2 May 2024 17:10

SARA ALZAABI (ABU DHABI)

The rising presence of electric cars on UAE roads and innovations in the realm of autonomous mobility dominated discussions during a panel discussion at the Mobility Live Middle East 2024 event at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) on Wednesday.

The event was held as part of Abu Dhabi Mobility Week, a two-day course event on the future of mobility. 

The event brought together disruptors, their technologies, and stakeholders from all modes and disciplines to foster collaboration, provide insights, and drive much-needed change.

Titled "Unlocking the future of automated vehicles: seamless communication enabled by connected infrastructure for enhanced safety and efficiency", the session was moderated by Gurpreet Singh, Founder and CEO of 3rd Eye Consulting LLC, and heard from Muneer Zuhdi, Head of Strategic Innovation Partnerships at Nokia Bell Labs; Fatmah Al Hantoobi, Section Head of Transport Services Planning at ITC; Georges Aoude, Co-Founder and CEO of Derq; and Dave George, Road Safety Specialist at Al Ain Municipality.

Zuhdi discussed the significance of technology in accident prevention. "If we can leverage technology to enhance situational awareness and provide alerts to drivers, we can prevent most accidents by augmenting people's intelligence and providing additional information," Zuhdi said.

He highlighted the advancements in AI, IoT sensors, video analytics, computer vision, and 5G infrastructure, which enable fast response systems and high-performance networking layers. 

"When we talk about the UAE, the infrastructure for charging to encourage people to migrate towards electric vehicles is emerging very nicely," he continued.

“Once more people migrate towards electric vehicles, it will not only enhance driver safety but also alleviate congestion and improve the environment by reducing pollution emitted by conventional cars."

However, to achieve mass adoption, tangible benefits must be communicated to people, he noted.

Al Hantoobi emphasised that Abu Dhabi is working closely with different entities and sectors to develop a clear strategy for autonomous mobility.

"The Transport Center, the Department of Municipalities, and all other governmental entities and private sector stakeholders, we are working closely to develop a clear strategy for the Abu Dhabi Emirate regarding autonomous mobility. This strategy encompasses enabling the infrastructure, enhancing the technology, testing the latest technologies for autonomous mobility, and establishing a clear process to commercialise autonomous vehicles as a service for deployment on the ground," Al Hantoobi said.

She added that the key focus is to develop Abu Dhabi as a hub for testing the latest technology on autonomous vehicles.

During the development of the strategy and legislation framework, the team benchmarked regulations related to autonomous mobility with 25 countries, she said.

"This is our key focus now because when we regulate the industry, we can then work on a clear implementation plan or enablement plan to make this happen," Al Hantoobi noted.

Aoude stressed the significance of visualizing the data. "Understanding how to visualise and comprehend all the data available today is crucial. We have an abundance of data, but it's challenging to make sense of it without the ability to visualise and simulate it. Then, we can explore how to utilize this real-time data and overlay it onto our physical world. The ultimate benefit lies in using this capability to predict the future. From the perspective of traffic safety and digital infrastructure, there are numerous benefits," Aoude noted.

George discussed the advantages of automated vehicles (AV). "With AVs, there is no stress, no fighting with other drivers, because sometimes it feels like a battle out there on the road. However, there are those who desire control, who want to be in charge of their vehicles, and this presents a significant barrier."

He believed that the region needs to develop facilities similar to those in European countries, such as transponders for pedal cycles, which could help cars detect pedal cycles and alert drivers.

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