Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority has announced that it has placed an order for 200 Tesla Model S and X, which will be used for limousine service across the city of gold. The news comes after CEO Elon Musk spoke at Dubai’s World Government Summit and the company kicked off its official launch in the UAE.
Tesla was chosen because of the vehicle’s autonomous driving capabilities packaged as part of the Autopilot 2.0 hardware suite. While Tesla’s full self-driving capabilities has yet to be unleashed, the Dubai Taxi Corporation is primed to become a transportation service provider using a fully autonomous fleet. “It is also part of the Dubai Smart Autonomous Mobility Strategy aimed at transforming 25 per cent of total journeys in Dubai into autonomous journeys by 2030,” said Mattar Al Tayer, director general and chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the RTA.
Mr. Al Tayer went on to explain why the partnership with Tesla is a strategic move for RTA stating that “Tesla has been selected for its pioneering endeavors in the manufacturing of electric vehicles. The company is focused on improvement and creativity in autonomous driving as well as the storage of power.”
It is important to note that while the current generation of Autopilot hardware dubbed “hardware 2” is expected to deliver fully autonomous capabilities, it is not currently capable of autonomous driving in production vehicles today.
Further, the Tesla Autopilot info page states that “Please note also that using a self-driving Tesla for car sharing and ride hailing for friends and family is fine, but doing so for revenue purposes will only be permissible on the Tesla Network, details of which will be released next year.”
This language makes it clear that when the new Tesla limousine fleet finally does go fully autonomous, those using the service will have to do so utilizing the Tesla Network, laying the groundwork for invariable awkward relations with the Dubai Taxi Corporation.