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No more sleeping at the wheel: There’s no wheel in fully driverless cars!

Can you imagine yourself riding in a car with no pedals or wheel at all?

You should probably start getting used to the idea because one year from now the first fully automated vehicle will be released by General Motors (GM) in the US, but someone in the GCC will flaunt it then, for sure.

According to Business Insider, the automaker stressed that the fully autonomous vehicle would emphasize safety without creating any legal problems.

Dubai has laid the ground for launching semi-autonomous vehicles in the years to come.

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According to Auto Middle East, a website for car news, the first step in introducing driverless cars in Dubai began in August 2017 as the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (ESMA) issued a preparation of regulation requirements for autonomous vehicles in the UAE.

ESMA will work with the Federal Authority for Land and Maritime Transport, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, the Dubai Police, and the Roads and Transport Authority to draft the first set of regulations.

Driverless Dubai

The Emirate also launched a number of initiatives to move forward in this direction.

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) issued ‘Dubai Autonomous Transportation Strategy’ aiming to transform 25% of the total transportation in Dubai to autonomous mode by 2030, involving 5 million daily trips, saving AED 22 billion ($6bn) in annual economic costs.

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The strategy includes the launch of ‘Dubai World Autonomous Transportation Challenge’ to encourage the world’s most innovative international companies, academic institutions and centers of research and development to test the latest advances in this technology.

Meanwhile, RTA said it had signed in February 2017 an agreement with Tesla Inc., a world-leading manufacturer of autonomous electric vehicles, for buying 200 hybrid electric vehicles fitted with several components of autonomous driving technologies.

Tesla made in September the first delivery of 50 cars, and the new fleet includes both Model S sedans and Model X SUVs, each equipped with Tesla’s latest Autopilot software.

Also, a joint venture, signed on November 1st, saw the RTA and Emaar Properties study the launch of autonomous vehicles while using smart traffic signals at crossings between Dubai Mall and the Boulevard areas.

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Fully autonomous manufacturers

According to Inside EVs, a website for electric vehicles news, VW will start testing fully autonomous cars in the near future.

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Further down the line, fleets of self-driving cars will be launched in 2-5 cities all over the world by 2021, according to Inside EVs.

It said that Audi also has the Aicon envisioned with level 5 autonomy, meaning it doesn’t have a steering wheel or pedals.

Also, global startup Nio unveiled plans to sell a fully autonomous electric car in the US market by 2020.

Qatar Tribune revealed that the car will be “a digital companion, a robot on wheels” equipped with “an artificial intelligence engine with an intuitive human interface, providing verbal and visual connections both within the vehicle and with the outside world.”