The partnership, which brings this type of technology to the Middle East for the first time, follows the launch of the Dubai Autonomous Transportation Strategy, a new initiative spearheaded by Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, which aims to
make 25% of all transportation trips in Dubai, smart and driverless by 2030.
The pods, which are electric and driverless, can drive individually or by attaching themselves to other pods to form a bus-like structure to allow travellers to move freely from one pod to another, according to a statement by Careem.
“The partnership between NEXT and Careem will bring a new wave of transportation infrastructure to the Middle East that is safer, more efficient and environmentally friendly,” the statement said.
The NEXT self-driving electric pods are designed to operate as a mass transportation system that shuttles people from door to door. The pods will pick passengers up on demand and link together in bus-like form on the journey to get each person from point A to point B as efficiently as possible.
“We are honoured to create a strategic partnership with such an innovative company as NEXT,” said Mudassir Sheikha, co-founder and managing director of Careem.
“As the pioneering operators of the finest taxi fleet in the UAE, we are acutely aware of the ground realities of intra-city and inter-city transport.”