China-based WeRide has received a permit from the UAE government to test its self-driving cars on the country’s roads. The announcement was made by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. WeRide has already set foot in the country, supplying software and hardware for a 2022 robo-taxi trial on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island.
Al Maktoum revealed on Twitter that the Council of Ministers has approved a national policy on electric vehicles, which includes developing a network of charging stations, regulating the electric vehicle market, and promoting electric vehicle-related industries to reduce emissions, energy consumption, and maintain the cleanliness of UAE roads. quality. He also said that WeRide has obtained the country’s first self-driving car license.
WeRide has deployed in 25 cities in 5 countries and realized the commercialization of 5 main products. The company conducts extensive autonomous driving testing and operations, with a fleet of more than 500 autonomous vehicles. In total, the vehicles traveled 16 million kilometers.
WeRide has previously tested and operated robot buses in 18 cities, including Riyadh, and partnered with a Saudi AI company to showcase one of their vehicles at the Global AI Summit in September 2022. This marks the first time in the Middle East that a driverless bus autonomous vehicle has been tested.
The Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia, is keen to utilize autonomous vehicles as part of its sustainable mobility plans, with zero carbon emissions and 100% renewable energy. For example, the large-scale NEOM program in Saudi Arabia relies heavily on autonomous driving technology to build a sustainable transportation ecosystem. In line with this vision, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Transport and Logistics Services launched autonomous electric vehicle trials in April to support the development of advanced transportation systems and improve road quality and safety.
Overall, the UAE’s approval of WeRide’s license marks an important step in the integration of autonomous vehicles into the region’s transportation landscape, in line with the Middle East’s desire for sustainable and advanced mobility solutions.