11 December 2019, Saudi Arabia – King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) has launched Saudi Arabia’s first-ever self-driving vehicle service in partnership with EasyMile and Local Motors, on its campus in Thuwal.
Innovation and sustainability are two of KAUST’s highest priorities. Implementing autonomous vehicles on campus is an important next step for them in creating transportation solutions that help reduce emissions, increase mobility and can help diversify Saudi Arabia’s economy.
“We are extremely proud that our driverless technology features in this milestone,” said Gilbert Gagnaire, CEO of EasyMile. “We believe the Middle East’s mobility needs can be met with autonomous vehicles. KAUST is smart as a destination, and university. They are ahead of the curve in alternative mobility solutions. We see our collaboration as a ground-breaking project introducing environmentally friendly and accessible public transportation to KAUST, and the region. We’re really looking forward to the future with them.”
The shuttles on the KAUST campus use mapping, cognitive response technology, light detection and ranging (Lidar), and obstacle avoidance systems to control, navigate and drive the vehicles. Both shuttles are fully electric and sustainable, making them not only easily accessible, but also environmentally friendly.
Students and researchers will work together with EasyMile on developing and introducing the new technology in a controlled environment and gathering performance data including vehicle performance, usage rates, and user experience.
“Implementing self-driving vehicle technology underscores our strong AI research base and the flexibility of our campus community, which make KAUST an ideal partner to adopt and demonstrate smart city user experiences for the Kingdom,” said Tony Chan, President of KAUST.
EasyMile, Head of Communications
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