While primarily known globally for pioneering the driverless Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) developed by 2getthere and operated at Masdar City since 2010, the most important lessons come from the city’s planning rather than specific transportation technologies.
Masdar City bases its transportation strategy on a hierarchy that puts pedestrians first and emphasizes sustainable, public transportation, which is supplemented with clean point-to-point services, and finally adds personal vehicles. As part of that strategy, Masdar City has introduced several technologies that support its mission, both as commercial and pilot projects. The transportation strategy, though, is only part of the overall sustainability story. This starts with neighbourhoods that provide all basic services within walking distance. It is more sustainable to walk to the store or café than to use an electric vehicle. This expands to a higher level of services in specific locations in the City such as schools and hotels that are accessible on bikes or with Masdar City transportation. Building the City in that way enables the transportation strategy to be successful.
NAVYA is a pioneer and specialist in the autonomous vehicle market and their Autonom Shuttle vehicle is designed to perform all safety-critical driving functions and monitor roadway conditions for an entire trip. Such a design anticipates that the driver will provide destination or navigation input, but is not expected to be available for control at any time during the trip. This applies to both occupied and unoccupied vehicles.
Following a pilot project at Masdar City to test the vehicle battery efficiency for Abu Dhabi’s summer environment, the vehicle route will take passengers from outside of Masdar City’s North Car Park to the Knowledge Centre. The planned route is pedestrian focused and does not interact with public roads, only those for civil defence and logistics vehicles.