Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority announced on Tuesday that the world’s first set of guidelines for the trial of autonomous cars has won a regional traffic award.

RTA formulated the guidelines and will put them in force by the end of 2019. The guidelines won the Best Public-Private Project Award during the recent Gulf Traffic Exhibition and Conference. The Dubai Code of Practice of Self-Driving Vehicles is the world’s first set of guidelines for the trial of autonomous cars.

The guidelines are part of RTA’s aim to transform 25 percent of city journeys into self-driving trips by 2030. The guidelines aim to attract manufacturers to invest in researches and trials to help transform Dubai into a regional hub for autonomous vehicles.

RTA intends for 25 percent of all cars on Dubai roads to be autonomous.

Ahmad Behroozian, CEO of Public Transport Agency and Head of Smart and Sustainable Transport Committee at RTA, said, “Winning this award underlines our belief that improvements in the self-driving vehicles rest on carrying out diverse trials on these vehicles. We have therefore introduced the Code of Practice to describe the minimal safety and security requirements of self-driving vehicles to be tested.”

In keeping with the guidelines, RTA issues permits to companies to carry out trials within controlled environments to curb the number of potential risks. “RTA has developed this Guide, which is the first of its kind worldwide, to enable manufacturers to test the technology systematically in Dubai,” said Behroozian. The guidelines lay out a clear methodology for testing these vehicles against international standards.

Behroozian concluded, “When the vehicle passes through all stages of testing, a no objection certificate is issued for the use of vehicles on Dubai roads as per the applicable legislation. This guide, which will be implemented by the end of 2019, contributes to attracting manufacturers to invest in researches and trials to transform Dubai into a regional hub for self-driving vehicles.”

RTA will first inspect test cars for eligibility followed by testing in controlled environments.

There are four stages of testing self-driving vehicles:

Phase I: Compliance and test. This verifies eligibility of manufacturers to take part in tests under specific criteria.

Phase II: Tests within Geo-fenced Areas. The aim is to ensure safety of vehicles for passengers and road users, and the fitness of vehicles for driving on Dubai roads.

Phase III: Assessment through Simulators. This phase aims to study the overall impact on road network.

Phase IV: Trials on specific parts of Dubai roads network witnessing moderate traffic movement. The aim is to test trial vehicles with other vehicles while keeping the safety of other road users in mind.