Driving digital lifestyles in the Arab region

The future networked and autonomous transport is set to arrive to an emirate near you – perhaps within the decade.

The emirate of Dubai has set the ambitious target of ensuring 25 per cent of all trips by metro, buses and taxi are smart and driverless by the year 2030.

Together with the Dubai Roads and Transportation Authority (RTA), the Dubai Future Foundation launched the Dubai Autonomous Transportation Strategy to realize this vision.

Many forms of smart transportation can help this goal become a reality, from smart pods to autonomous vehicles, delivery drones, and even flying taxis. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) envisions becoming one of the world's leading countries in smart intermodal mobility by 2030.

Smart mobility in urban planning

The adoption of smart transportation technologies in the UAE is part of a broader strategy to reduce congestion, commutes, traffic accidents, and the country's carbon footprint. Government is looking to build a strong reputation for the country as a safe, modern, and forward-looking place to live and do business.

Several cities across the Arab region are already incorporating smart mobility into their urban planning. For instance, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will invest nearly 50 billion USD in smart city projects through 2025, according to one research firm, with many smart city projects placing a distinct focus on enhancing mobility for residents.

Spearheading digital transformation

Smart mobility is not the only area where the UAE is spearheading digital transformation – with nearly 25 per cent of Internet users using ride-hailing apps or taxi booking services at least once a month, according to the World Digital Report 2021.

UAE residents spent 320 million hours on smartphone applications during 2020. The country also enjoys a high mobile connectivity rate, at 171 per cent relative to its population. The report also puts the Internet users at 99 per cent of the population, with UAE residents spending an average of 7.5 hours a day browsing the Internet.

The drive towards digital is happening in Emirati homes, too, with experts forecasting the country’s smart homes market to grow at a rate of 14.8 per cent through 2022. Government initiatives towards energy efficiency and smart cities are expected to further spur the growth of the intelligent homes market in the Middle East in the coming years.

The UAE’s Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority has launched several initiatives to support the country’s digital transformation vision, including programmes to support remote working, distance learning, e-commerce, and e-government services. In coordination with service providers, the authority provided applications to support remote working from homes with faster broadband, with fixed Internet speed reached 131 Mb/s, up 44.6 per cent from 2019 speeds.

Learn more about the future of mobility at the 2021 Future Networked Car Symposium.