Sheikh Mohammed Announces Self Driving Car Law in Dubai

Sheikh Mohammed Announces Self Driving Car Law in Dubai

Dubai has been at the forefront of embracing new aspects for several years. Be it in terms of architecture, business, technology, or automobiles; it has always had a reputation for being right at the top. in this spirit, and with the aim of improving investments in the autonomous driving sector, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced a new self driving car law operate in Dubai. The Gazette for the same was issued on 14 April 2023. this guide tells you everything there is to know about Law No. (9) of 2023. 

What Does The New Law State?

self driving car law

Before we explore what the new law states, it’s essential that you understand the reason behind it in the first place. The Prime Minister stated that his objective was to turn Dubai into a model for cities in the future and turn it into the best city to visit, live, and work in.  against this backdrop, Law No. (9) aims to boost Dubai’s smart mobility transformation while attracting more investments in the sector. This is further evidenced by the fact that the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) unveiled its fleet of self-driving cars at Gitex last year. 

Under this new self driving car law, the RTA will be responsible for the development of strategic plans to improve how self-driving cars operate within the emirate. This will also involve setting operational and safety benchmarks, along with identifying various categories of autonomous vehicles. further, the RTA has also been mandated to identify routes, roads, and areas where these self-driving cars can operate while setting speed limits and developing any necessary infrastructure needed for it.  additionally, it will also be responsible for issuing licences for such vehicles. The self driving car law goes on to state the conditions for obtaining a licence to run such vehicles. 

Conditions To Obtain a Licence For Autonomous Vehicles in Dubai

Conditions To Obtain a Licence For Autonomous Vehicles in Dubai

For starters, the law states that a licence must be obtained by the Director General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the RTA to conduct any activities to do with autonomous vehicles.  to obtain a licence, passing a technical test and being able to have the technology to read and understand road signs is a must in any self-driving vehicle, as the lack of these can be hazardous on the road.  further, another key condition is that the autonomous vehicle must also be insured by a UAE insurer. Further conditions to licencing are due to be issued. 

Liability and Insurance 

As per the new self driving car law, liability for any damage caused to individuals or property by an autonomous vehicle will rest with its operator. However, the operator’s right to defend themselves via mitigating factors or factors of causation still remains intact, ensuring fairness in the process. This is also crucial if Dubai aims to attract more investment in this sector over the next few years. further, all criminal laws of the UAE will continue to apply if any act constitutes a criminal offence. Lastly, the law also imposes administrative fines on any party that has been found to violate the new law. 

Sale and Transfer of Self-Driving Cars in Dubai

Sale and Transfer of Self-Driving Cars in Dubai

In terms of the sale and transfer of autonomous or self-driving cars, the law states that the two should only be done by authorised agents. It also goes on to state that the transfer of a self-driving vehicle from one agent to another lie in the direction of the RTA and can only happen with its pre-approval.  anyone who violates the law can face a fine of between AED 500 to AED 20,000. These fines can also be doubled in case of a repeated violation within the same year. However, the maximum fine has been capped at AED 50,000. additionally, any case that’s not covered by the new law will be adjudicated based on the provisions laid down in the Provisions of Federal Law No. (21) of 1995 Concerning Road Traffic. 

In Summary 

On 14th April 2023, The Prime Minister of the UAE issued a Gazette laying down regulations for the use of autonomous vehicles. This was done in a bid to improve investment in the sector and set the course for Dubai to become “a city of the future.” Law No. (9) of 2023 has laid down that the RTA will be responsible for regulating the industry, along with creating strategic plans for the industry’s growth. Further, it will also be responsible for identifying routes, roads, and areas where autonomous cars can operate within the emirate of Dubai. the law also lays down several criteria that must be met before one can apply for a licence for the same. The law will come into effect on 13 July 2023 and is expected to be further refined to ensure all possible regulations are considered while considering cyber-related risks to autonomous vehicles.  the move has been seen as a progressive move to bring in investment in the country while adding to Dubai’s already futuristic place on the world’s map.

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Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

Are self-driving cars legal in the UAE?

Following the Prime Minister's announcement of Law No. (9) which will come into effect by 13 July 2023, self-driving or autonomous cars will become legal in the emirate of Dubai.

What are the criteria for self-driving cars?

There are several conditions for self-driving cars in Dubai. Any activity pertaining to self-driving cars must be done only after receiving a licence from the RTA, and all autonomous vehicles must be insured by a UAE insurer.

Can self-driving cars drive themselves?

Yes, self-driving cars can drive themselves in some or even all situations. However, their ability to do so depends heavily on external factors such as the visibility of road signs, lane markings, etc. However, drivers must always be ready to take control at any moment.

When can we have self-driving cars?

While there are already Level 3 and Level 4 autonomous vehicles, we can only expect to have a fully self-driven car around 2035.

Krittika Barua Organized, vocal and everything in between. Krittika is an editor at Square Yards, passionate about weaving words with simplicity. She’s a dog lover obsessed with Microsoft Excel. Donuts cheer her up.
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