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Dubai tests autonomous shuttle service

An autonomous shuttle car has begun running on a 700 metre route along a boulevard in Dubai. 01 Sep 2016

The Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has begun a trial of the service as part of a broader plan for driverless public transport, it said.

Dubai aims to make 25% of all "mobility journeys" driverless by 2030, the RTA said.

A survey will be run to gauge the views of residents and visitors on the driverless shuttle, it said.

The 10-seater vehicle has been produced by Easy Mile / Omnix Company and is designed to travel short distances over pre-programmed routes in "multi-use environments", the RTA said.

The shuttle links downtown Dubai landmarks, tourist and entertainment sites, the RTA said.

A self-driving taxi service launched in Singapore last week. Residents can hail the taxis using a smartphone app, and rides will be free during the trial.

Volvo has said that it will test semi-autonomous cars in the UK from next year, while Ford said last month that it intends to make a fully autonomous vehicle for the mass market in 2021.

Ford's announcement coincided with one from Audi, which said new 'vehicle-to-infrastructure' technology has already been deployed in some of its vehicles and allows messages to be relayed to drivers that traffic lights are due to turn green or that they will not make it through traffic lights before they turn red, according to a BBC report.