15 August 2016

The idea of self-driving cars powering down Dubai's Sheikh Zayed Road or cruising along the Abu Dhabi Corniche was given a big thumbs up by the results of a survey released on Sunday.

A new study entitled 'Self-Driving Vehicles, Robo-Taxis, and the Urban Mobility Revolution', which was carried out by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), in collaboration with the World Economic Forum, found that 70 percent of consumers surveyed in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are open to trying a self-driving vehicle.

Carried out in August 2015 and including 504 respondents from the UAE, the survey also found 47 percent said they would be willing to pay more for a fully self-driving car, with third saying they would be willing to spend up to $5,000 more to be able to lie back and let the car do all the driving itself.

The openness to self-driving vehicles was also much higher in the UAE than the global average, which BCG found was around 58 percent in other urban cities included in the study.

The results are encouraging news for the Dubai government, which announced in April it hopes 25 percent of car journeys will be by automated vehicles by 2030.

"There is a compelling case to be made for SDVs in cities," Nikolaus Lang, a BCG senior partner and report co-author, was quoted as saying in a press statement. "Ride-shared, electric robo-taxis can substantially transform and improve urban transportation and, by direct extension, livability, by providing more people with easier access to mobility, making streets safer, and freeing up space no longer needed for parking,"

The widespread adoption of automated vehicles also has other benefits and could result in a 60 percent drop in the number of cars on roads, an 80 percent decrease in tailpipe emissions and a 90 percent reduction in road accidents.

(Writing by Shane McGinley)

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