Careem brings driverless technology to the region
Committed to transforming the transportation sector through innovation and industry-leading technology, Careem, the region’s leading app based car booking service, recently unveiled its driverless pods in partnership with NEXT Future Transportation Inc.
The pods were showcased at GITEX 2016, the Middle East and Africa’s largest, annual technology exhibition, and are expected to hit the road within a year in Dubai. The emirate will serve as a tester market before Careem looks to roll out the pods in other cities across the region.
The launch of the driverless electric pods for public transportation is set to reinforce the region’s position as a thriving hub for innovation, especially at a time when economies in MENA and beyond sharpen their focus on driving long-term growth through the launch of smart initiatives.
The pods are electric, driverless and can move individually or by attaching themselves to other pods, to form a bus-like structure, allowing passengers to move freely from one pod to another. These self-driving pods are designed to operate as a mass transportation system whereby passengers can conveniently be picked up on demand and dropped off to different locations, as the pods link and detach accordingly, creating an efficient, safe and environmentally friendly mode of transportation.
“As one of the fastest growing tech startups in the wider MENA region, Careem prides itself on innovation and therefore this strategic partnership with a forward-thinking company such as NEXT, helps us to contribute to the future growth of the regional transportation and technology sector by providing more efficient modes of driverless public transportation,” said Bassel Al Nahloui – VP of Business Development and Government Relations, Careem. “Our pods are currently in the R&D phase and within a year we will be launching an extensive test phase in Dubai, whereby fully functional prototypes will be tested in restricted areas before we roll out this incredible technology to other markets in the region”
Careem, which has enjoyed early success in delivering luxury rides to millions of customers since its launch in 2012, recently partnered with Dubai’s Road Transportation Authority (RTA) to make public transportation such as taxis, more accessible by eventually making it available on their apps.
“We have invented the world’s finest autonomous mass transit solution, and as we look to operationalize, Careem is a perfect partner given their vision, operational depth, credibility and success in transforming transportation across the MENA region,” said Emmanuele Spera, Founder & CEO, NEXT Future Transportation, Inc. “We look forward to continuing our journey to bring advanced transportation technologies and practices to the region.”
Careem is the technology platform for our region. A region of over 600 million people that extends from Morocco to Pakistan, Turkey to Sudan. It’s an area of the world that up until now, has largely missed out on the transformational power of the internet revolution – but through its ambition and focus is catching up fast. Half of the population are under 25, and the same amount are connected to the internet yet only a small proportion have bank accounts, access to public transport and critical infrastructure.