Dubai's RTA enacts laws for trial runs of autonomous vehicles

Published: 5 February 2020 - 12:45 p.m.

Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has unveiled legislation enacted to streamline the trial runs of autonomous vehicles in line with implementing Resolution No (3) of the Executive Council Regulating Test Runs of Autonomous Vehicles in Dubai.

The aim of these rules is to raise the attention of the concerned parties to stipulations governing the test runs of such types of vehicles.

Commenting on the legislation, the chief executive officer of the Public Transport Agency and chairperson of the Smart and Sustainable Transport Committee of the RTA, Ahmed Hashim Bahrozyan, said: “The rules enacted aim to achieve the strategic targets of Dubai Smart Mobility Strategy, calling for transforming 25% of mobility trips in Dubai into self-driving transport means by 2030.”

Bahrozyan added: “The underlying objective of the strategy is to reduce the cost of transport, carbon emissions, and accidents besides saving hundreds of million hours wasted on driving conventional vehicles.”

The legislation defines the roles and responsibilities of government entities concerned with trial runs of autonomous vehicles namely RTA, Dubai Police, and Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services.

“RTA plays a crucial role as it is the licensing authority entrusted with checking, auditing, and endorsing the technical, security and safety standards of trials set by contracting parties such as manufacturers, developers, and auto dealers. It also tasks RTA to set stipulations of roads, areas, and speeds governing test-runs of autonomous vehicles,” Bahrozyan explained.

“The legislation tasks RTA to monitor the compliance of the concerned parties and certify vehicles that have passed the trial run. RTA shall prepare the infrastructure and logistics of the trial run in coordination with the concerned entities. RTA is entitled to form joint teams with those entities to oversee the conducting of such trials.”

According to the legislation, autonomous vehicle that are being be tested must be covered by a comprehensive insurance policy against accidents and civil responsibility. The policy must be valid throughout the testing period.

“The legislation also orders manufacturers and other parties concerned with the trial run to comply with the conditions and processes stated by RTA in this regard,” Bahrozyan said.

The legislation entitles the RTA to take measures if any of those parties that fail to honour its obligations. These measures include serving written notice, suspending the trial, abolishing the permit or annulling the contract; which renders such parties incapable of carrying out any trial run.

“The legislation exempts RTA from any third-party responsibility in connection with any losses incurred as a result of the test-run of autonomous vehicles, and obliges those parties to solely assume such responsibilities,” Bahrozyan concluded.

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