Masdar City has announced that its driverless mass transit system, the Masdar Personal Rapid Transit (PRT), has reached 99% efficiency and carried over two million passengers since launch six years ago.
The PRT utilises autonomous, 4-person capacity transport pods, traveling on a 2km loop to link Masdar Institute of Science and Technology (MIST) and its parking lot.
2getthere, the developer and operator of the PRT said that the system has experienced a 175% increase in passenger traffic since May 2014.
Carel van Helsdingen, CEO of 2getthere said: "At Masdar City we have both daily passengers and first-time users, from 6am until midnight, with the requirement to constantly provide a reliable and high service level under difficult environmental conditions. As a result, we have a significant edge over companies that are only at the start of their development."
Yousef Baselaib, Executive Director of Sustainable Real Estate for Masdar, Abu Dhabi's future energy company, added: "This milestone marks a significant step in the progress of Masdar City, and stands as a testament to our culture of innovation. The popularity of the PRT demonstrates how functional, sustainable urban transport development is paving the way for cities of the future."
Since 2010, the Masdar PRT system has also been collecting data which will be utilized for the further development of autonomous vehicles, in relation to the technology, its interactive capabilities with users, and social implications. For example, data collected so far displays an average occupancy of 60% overall with peaks of nearly 90% on weekends. Having this information on hand has undoubtedly assisted in the success rates of 99.6% and 99.9% for system availability and vehicle reliability respectively.
The data collected from the PRT system has been invaluable, according to van Helsdingen: "Real-life applications are invaluable for the reliability of the resulting information. Where a demonstration only provides an indication of the way passengers interface with a system, a real-life application shows real-world behaviour.
"We are content with the reliability of the vehicles and the application at Masdar City. Because of the appeal of Masdar City we have been honoured in transporting many VIPs in our vehicles, from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister and Vice President to the UAE; German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel; UN-leader Ban-Ki Moon and celebrities including Clive Owen, James Cameron and David Ferrer. The most recent VIP was His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales who was passenger number 1,988,933."