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Dubai takes delivery of their first 50 Tesla vehicles to create a ‘self-driving’ taxi service

Tesla made a big deal of its launch in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates earlier this year. With the launch in the region, Tesla signed a deal to supply 200 Model S/X vehicles with ‘fully self-driving-capability’ to Dubai’s taxi company.

This week, they delivered the first 50 of those vehicles.

The first batch will be based at Dubai’s airport.

HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Dubai Airports, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline & Group, and Chairman of Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, was present at the launch event and discussed the rollout of the fleet in more details:

“The RTA has recently taken delivery of 50 Tesla vehicles as part of a deal for 200 vehicles signed last February on the sidelines of the World Government Summit 2017. Accordingly, 75 vehicles will be supplied in 2018, and 75 others to be delivered in 2019. The Dubai Taxi Corporation has coordinated with the concerned parties to provide the needed infrastructure to ensure the operation of these vehicles including the provision of 13 electric recharging stations,”

They also implemented a new system to order the taxi at the airport.

They still hope that the cars, which are equipped with the latest Autopilot hardware, will eventually enable a self-driving service with future updates, but in the meantime, the drivers will benefit from the Autopilot features.

Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the Roads & Transport Authority (RTA), said:

“Tesla vehicles procured by the RTA of Models (S) and (X) are equipped with the hardware needed for full self-driving capability at a safety level greater than that of a human driver. Tesla’s Autopilot is designed as a hands-on experience to give drivers more confidence behind the wheel, increase their safety on the road, and make highway driving more enjoyable by reducing the driver’s workload,”

Last year, Dubai’s RTA released a concept video of their idea of a Tesla-based self-driving taxi service:

Aside from RTA’s fleet, Tesla also started customer deliveries for Model S and Model X in Dubai last June. They also opened Model 3 reservations.

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