’Dhahaina’ (’Smart’), a new autonomous vehicle (AV) at the Riyadh Business Front. Image Courtesy: Ministry of Transport and Logistics, Saudi Arabia
The Deputy Minister of Transport and Logistics, Dr. Rumaih Al-Rumaih, launched the trial phase of ’Dhahaina’ (’Smart’), a new autonomous vehicle (AV) at the Riyadh Business Front. The launch event was intended to boost awareness and increase acceptance of AV technology in society and is the first step in in a longer process that will see the development of AV legislation, regulations, and supporting systems.
The AV initiative is in line with the Ministry’s efforts to facilitate and embrace contemporary transportation systems. In a statement during the event, Al-Rumaih highlighted the Ministry’s embrace of innovative transportation techniques, and its plans to utilize advanced technologies in the transportation and logistics industry, as per the objectives set in the National Transport and Logistics Strategy. This strategy aims to provide solutions for smart mobility and anticipate the future development of the market. By launching this trial, the Ministry aims to reduce the number of transport-related accidents and fatalities, improve intracity mobility, and minimize the impact of the transportation sector on the environment.
The inauguration occurred at the Riyadh Business Front, owned by the ROSHN Group – which is taking a novel approach to incorporating modern technology into the integrated communities it is building across the Kingdom. ROSHN promotes sustainability by offering pedestrian-friendly streets and eco-friendly modes of transportation for commuting within its communities, while providing connections to a wide range of public and private transportation options that connect its customers to the wider city.
Oussama Kabbani, the Group Chief Development Officer at ROSHN Group, expressed his enthusiasm in collaborating with the Ministry of Transport and Logistic Services, stating, “The ’Dhahaina’ initiative is a significant leap in the technical development of transportation in the Kingdom. This trial aligns with ROSHN’s commitment to humanizing the civil experience and adapting technology to serve people within the high-quality real estate environments of our communities across the Kingdom.”
Al-Rumaih, meanwhile, emphasized that these trials align with the Ministry of Transport and Logistics Services’ ongoing efforts to establish a national regulatory framework for AVs in collaboration with relevant entities. The primary objective is to unify efforts and establish appropriate regulatory frameworks to enable autonomous vehicles while prioritizing user safety, simplifying procedures, and attracting investors.
The Ministry of Transport and Logistics is striving to enable various modern technologies in all transport sectors, including land, rail, sea, air, and logistics services, through their initiative to embrace new transportation methods. They aim to develop suitable regulatory frameworks for each technology, conduct phased experiments, empower the private sector, attract investors, and enhance the technical capacity of the workforce by partnering with universities and educational institutions.