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Dubai's driverless taxi journey begins with digital mapping

Dubai's journey to operating a fleet of self-driving taxis by the end of 2023 takes a decisive step forward this month, with the two Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles (EVs) beginning operations to prepare digital maps for the self-driving vehicles.

The process is a prelude to the actual service's launch in April 2021, following an agreement between the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and Cruise LLC, General Motors' self-driving car unit. The two Bolt EVs will be deployed on Jumeirah streets first, and will be driven by specialised drivers. Cruise's technology makes use of a high-resolution map of the physical environment, which is created using specialised mapping vehicles outfitted with a suite of sensors such as LiDAR, cameras, and other equipment and driven around the city to collect data. This is then used to create and maintain a navigable map for self-driving cars (AVs).

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