Dubai started the trial operation of a driverless electric abra, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has announced. The traditional boat — a common sight in the Emirate's waters — can carry eight riders.

The autonomous vessel was manufactured locally at the RTA’s Al Garhoud Marine Maintenance Centre. Its design retains the heritage identity of abras.

The initial journey of the driverless abra took place from Al Jaddaf to the Festival City station on the Dubai Creek.

Mattar Al Tayer, director-general and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors, RTA, said: “The autonomous electric abra boasts superb features highlighted by zero carbon emissions, lower operating and maintenance costs (by up to 30 per cent), and the elimination of noise compared to diesel-powered models.

"It is equipped with two electric motors with a maximum speed of seven knots. It has an autonomous control system and four lithium batteries that ensure an operating time of seven hours. The RTA adopted new technologies in designing the structure … and used fibreglass in the hull to reduce its weight.”

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