Qatar Investment Authority and Volkswagen AG have announced autonomous, electric transport initiative to transform urban mobility in Qatar. At the Doha Forum in Qatar, in the presence of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar and representatives of Volkswagen AG the parties signed ‘Project Qatar Mobility’. The signing was witnessed by several Qatari ministers, dignitaries and high representatives of Qatar and Germany.
The initiative, which is known as “Project Qatar Mobility”, underlines the mutual commitment to both smart technologies and green transport. The goal is to develop a ground-breaking autonomous transport project and transform the future of urban mobility to a sustainable and commercial deployment of AD shuttles and Bus Services – even beyond 2022.
Fostering a cross-brand collaboration as blueprint for future AD solutions, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, Scania, MOIA and AID-Autonomous Intelligent Driving will play an important role in this project. During the largest sporting event in the world, Qatar will thus be the venue for the world’s first emission-free, electric and autonomous public transport system.
The plan is to have prototypes of ID. BUZZ AD shuttles from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and of Scania buses to operate on a SDS (self-driving system) with zero emissions. The MOIA ride hailing app will be used to run the service. QIA and Volkswagen will work together to develop the required physical and digital infrastructure to seamlessly integrate a fleet of self-driving vehicles into Doha’s existing public transport network.
The vehicles will shuttle up to 4 passengers in Westbay area on semi-fixed routes, while high-tech Scania buses pick up larger groups. Volkswagen Group’s units AID and MOIA will provide the SDS knowledge and the app software to run the service. For the first time four Volkswagen Group brands work together on such a project of urban mobility.
The project aims to create a holistic ecosystem for autonomous driving, including the creation of an appropriate legal framework, smart city infrastructure and transfer of knowledge, which can be used as a blueprint to transform urban mobility, both in Qatar and beyond. Closed testing of the shuttle vehicles and buses is expected to begin in 2020 and trials will start as early as 2021. The project will go live during 2022, providing a technical showcase of future autonomous driving.
Dr Herbert Diess, Chairman of Volkswagen, said: “Project Qatar Mobility will play a very important role in our Strategy Together 2025+. Addressing the economic growth, social development, and environmental management challenges identified as part of our vision, and underlines our commitment to investing in next generation mobility. We will be experiencing real-world learnings and use the project as a stepping stone – for generations to come.”
Commenting on the announcement, Mr Mansoor Al Mahmoud, CEO of QIA said: “For our cities to progress we need a new wave of innovation. AI-enabled, emission-free transportation technologies will help advance urban mobility, while diminishing congestion and improving energy efficiency.”
The CEO of QIA added: “We are proud that QIA has been able to partner with Volkswagen to ensure that Qatar is at the forefront of these new technologies. The development of a smart transport solution will help transform the future of urban mobility, both at home and around the world.”
Source: Qatar Investment Authority (QIA)