Driverless buses pass climate tests ahead of 2020 Dubai launch

Dutch technology firm 2getthere has announced that its automated vehicle system that will link Bluewaters Island in Dubai with the city’s network of metro stations has passed its first operational test in simulated desert climate conditions, Arabian Business reported.

The new transport system, which will have a capacity of 5,000 people per hour per direction, was subjected to three tests in weather conditions such as ‘hot dry’ and ‘hot humid’, with a focus on the performance of the air conditioning system at the vehicles’ maximum (24) passenger capacity.

The test results showed that the battery-powered vehicles are able to maintain an indoor temperature of 23°C even in the worst-case scenario (52°C outside temperature and 3 percent humidity).

The extreme climate test is one in a long line of tests regarding the order the Utrecht-based company received from Dubai earlier this year.

From 2020, 25 vehicles will perform fully autonomous shuttle services to and from Bluewaters Island in Dubai, the company said.

Home to Ain Dubai, the world’s tallest and largest observation wheel in the world, Bluewaters is a destination under construction 500 metres off the Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) coastline.

It will feature a collection of townhouses, penthouses and apartments; retail and dining experiences and two hotels, linked to the shore by a multi-modal transport system ensuring easy access to the island.

The automatic transport system will fit into Dubai’s objective to have 25 percent of all trips completed by automated systems by 2035.

2getthere said the most extreme situation tested was based on the vehicle standing still with the doors opened for six minutes.

“The results of the climatic chamber test exceed all expectations based on 2getthere’s specifications,” the company added.

According to 2getthere, the successful climate test marks yet another step towards the operational deployment of the system, which has been scheduled for 2019/2020.

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