Mobility

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.

Eco-Bus
The Eco-Bus was unveiled at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2018 and is a joint development between Masdar and Abu Dhabi-based Hafilat Industry in collaboration with the Masdar Institute. Technology partner Siemens provided the bus’s engine, which has a range of 150 kilometres per charge. The Eco-Bus comprises a lightweight aluminium body and temperature-resistant, water-cooled batteries. The bus has been designed with advanced air-conditioning and electrochromic windows that enhance shading. A low-entry floor enables easy access while the bus has a seated capacity of 27 and additional safe-standing room. The Eco-Bus successfully completed a trial phase and has been integrated as part of the Department of Transport’s fleet in Abu Dhabi.
EV Rapid Charger Station
Masdar City installed the first rapid charging station for electric vehicles (EV) in the Middle East. The pilot project aims to assess how efficiently the rapid charger technology will function in the region’s harsh climate conditions. Thanks to the rapid charger, EV batteries can now be charged up to 80 per cent in approximately 30 minutes.  
NAVYA
At ADSW 2018, Masdar announced autonomous vehicle producer NAVYA as the winner of a global competition to expand the next phase of the mobility network of Masdar City. NAVYA will expand the driverless vehicle network currently serving the City along a one-kilometre route, which is expected on stream in 2019.
 
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.

PRT Station
With a system reliability greater than 99 per cent, the Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system has carried more than two million people since its launch at Masdar City in 2010. The electric-powered, automated, single-cabin vehicles offer the privacy, comfort and travel experience of a taxi service, and the environmental performance of public transport. Operated using a touch screen, the vehicles run along PRT-only corridors located under the street level of the Masdar Institute campus. The cars are controlled by computer and use sensors to locate magnets embedded in the ground, which assist vehicle navigation and ensure the pathway is clear. An overhead leaky coaxial cable antennae runs the length of the PRT corridors and provides a wireless link between the individual cars and the PRT system computer.