Careem reveals plans for self-drive pods

Careem, the Middle East’s app-based car booking service, has teamed up with NEXT Future Transportation Inc to bring battery-powered, self-driving electric pods to the region. CAREEM

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.”

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