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HOW FAR AWAY ARE WE FROM A FUTURE WITH DRIVERLESS CARS AND COMPLETE ROAD AUTONOMY?

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Driving, pfft, a thing of the past.

Remember ‘Back to the Future 2’, when Marty and Doc tore through the space-time continuum to head into the future and it’s filled with cool gadgets and flying cars? Well, we’re not saying that this is near but we’re saying you may not have to drive your own cars anymore, and no, we’re not talking about chauffeurs.

There have been a few examples of autonomous cars, namely Tesla’s, and unlike most technology, the hype hasn’t really died down. Nadia Qazi, a car enthusiast has been praying to ‘drive’ one ever since she heard about the technology.

Autonomous cars revolve around Artificial Intellgence or AI tech for short. The technology maps out the route the ‘driver’ wants to travel in and, well, the best way to put phrase this is, drive itself.

“If we can send rockets to space, why is it taking so long to make an autonomous car?” adds Nadia.

The 20-year old’s frustration is understandable and not unfounded.

Data and AI

“We’ve been saying that the technology will take about 10 years to develop for about a decade. We’ve made progress but there’s still alot to be done in this space,” said Seham Al Behissy, Former Digital and Connected Cars general manager/ Renault international group of Artificial Intelligence.

Al Behissy also highlights a critical point, which leads to the question – what happens to all the data?

“I would say that now the question revolves around safety, not only on the roads but also data quality assurance. We have to be able to interpret real time and accurate data as the car moves across specific areas, and ensure this data is stored. We need to have serious conversations with different key players and manufacturers,” she adds.

Education

Don’t worry we’re not talking about sending you back to school. But according to Al Behissy, drivers need to be educated on the potential hazards they face while operating an automatic car and learn how to navigate through these hurdles.

“It’s not only about a smar car but you have to integrate the mechanical, eletrical and education with it,” said Dr. Jassim Haji, President of International Group of Artificial Intelligence in Bahrain.

We need to enable users to operate these vehicles and need to educate them while changing their mindset from being a driver to a supervisor. They should also possess a set of skills to know how to use the vehicle in certain spaces and emergencies.

How can businesses benefit from this?

If autonomous cars and vehicles can be scaled and mass-produced, businesses might jump on the driverless bandwagon soon.

“We’re talking about everything from autonomous vehicles and drones all the way to applying data science to enhance the customer experience,” said Mohammed Sleeq, Chief Digital Officer at Aramex. Trust Aramex when it comes to logistics; the company has been a solutions leader and innovator in Dubai and operates in over 65 countries with over 16,500 employees.

Alexander Pope said, “To err is human”. But wouldn’t it sting significantly more  if that error cost you thousands in your business? Imagine you kickstarted a company from the root-level and now you need a way to get your products across to the customer. With proper AI backing you could eliminate human error altogether and save cost, which is a pillar of any smart business.

Hmm, Skynet from Terminator is starting to make alot more sense.

So, what now?

“The AI community needs to network more together to make autonomous cities and movement a reality,” said Dr. Haji.

“To build an autonomous car, you need to build it in different stages and challenge it with obstacles and safety courses around it. Furthermore, we cannot make an AI car without having AI security measures,” he adds.

He has a point. Just visualise how you would react if YOUR CAR WAS BEING HACKED!

There seems to be a considerable ways to go but noteworthy process has been made in this space. Question is can we replace our love for driving with being driven around? I’ve been debilitating an answer to this question for hours and it’s driving me crazy. Let us know in the comments what your prefer – driving yourself or your car driving you?

Journalist for 25 years with leading publications in India and UAE such as The National, Mumbai Mirror, DNA, Indian Express and former Sports Editor of eIndia.com. Now managing editor of Headline.ae, part of MEMc (https://www.memc.co)

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UAE waives all traffic violations for Omani citizens from 2018

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The UAE Government has decided to cancel the traffic violations of Omani citizens in the country, according to state-run news agency WAM.This covers all traffic violations incurred from 2018 to 2023. The announcement comes a few days after Oman’s Sultan Haitham bin Tariq met the country’s leaders on a state visit on Monday.

Abu Dhabi Police also announced the immediate implementation of fine cancellation for Omani citizens in the emirate.
Major General Pilot Faris Khalaf Al Mazrouei, Commander-in-Chief of Abu Dhabi Police, announced the immediate start of implementing the decision to cancel all traffic violations incurred by citizens of Oman.
In a statement today, he appreciated the decision to cancel all traffic violations incurred by these citizens in order to reduce the burden on the brothers from the Sultanate, and out of the keenness and interest of the wise leadership to launch purposeful initiatives that contribute to the happiness of customers from various segments of society, and to enhance efforts to preserve traffic safety.
He said that work had begun immediately to implement the decision in line with the procedures of the police general commands at the state level and to facilitate the mechanism for cancelling traffic violations.

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Dubai Police to waive all traffic fines incurred by motorists on 16 April

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All fines for traffic violations committed by motorists during the recent record rains, on April 16, will be waived in Dubai, police announced.

Lieutenant General Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police, made the announcement on Wednesday.

The decision to waive the traffic violations reflects Dubai Police’s commitment to the community and to ensuring their safety, especially during exceptional circumstances.

Dubai’s Crown Prince, Sheikh Hamdan, had earlier approved a series of initiatives and measures to urgently mitigate the impact of the severe weather in the emirate.

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UAE fuel prices announced for March 2024

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The Fuel Prices Monitoring Committee has given the green light for an increase in gasoline and diesel prices for March 2024. The approved hike ranges between 15 and 16 fils per liter for gasoline and 17 fils for diesel, compared to February 2024 prices.

Fuel distribution companies have promptly announced the new prices, effective from Friday, March 1, 2024. The updated pricing includes a 5% value-added tax.

Specifically, the price per liter of super gasoline “98” is set to rise by 15 fils, reaching 3.03 dirhams in March, up from 2.88 dirhams in February. Special gasoline “95” will see an increase of 16 fils, from 2.76 dirhams to 2.92 dirhams, while E-Plus 91 gasoline will climb by 16 fils, reaching 2.85 dirhams from 2.69 dirhams. Additionally, the price of diesel will experience a 17 fils per liter hike, escalating from 2.99 dirhams in February to 3.16 dirhams in March.

This decision follows three consecutive monthly reductions in gasoline and diesel prices approved by the committee for January 2024. The reduction ranged between 13 and 14 fils for gasoline and 19 fils for diesel per liter compared to December 2023 prices.

Notably, the Ministry of Energy’s approved fuel price standards are subject to monthly adjustments based on the global average oil price, incorporating distribution companies’ operating costs.

New fuel prices are:

-Super 98 petrol will cost Dh3.03 a litre, compared to Dh2.88 in February.

-Special 95 petrol will cost Dh2.92 per litre, compared to Dh2.76 last month.

-E-Plus 91 petrol will cost Dh2.85 a litre, compared to Dh2.69 a litre in February.

-Diesel will be charged at Dh3.16 a litre compared to Dh2.99 last month.

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