Careem to use driverless ‘pods’

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Careem has announced that they’ve partnered with a company that builds driverless, battery-powered ‘pods’.

Furthering their ambitions, last week they announced a $100 million investment into R&D, and are now going to be working with Next Future Transportation Inc to bring autonomous transport to MENA.

It comes only a few months after Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s announced the Dubai Autonomous Transportation Strategy, an initiative aimed at making 25 percent of all trips in Dubai driverless by 2030.

According to a statement from Careem the pods, electric and driverless, “can drive individually or by attaching themselves to other pods to form a bus-like structure where travelers will be able to move freely from one pod to another”.

It would the a first for the region.

While Careem is looking to use the pods for deliveries, they are actually designed so they can move people around the city, picking them up on demand. The idea behind them is that they reduce pollution and congestion.

Whizzing pods. (Image via Next Future Transportation Inc.)

“Careem and Next are co-innovating to help solve some of today’s more troubling mass transit problems, including minimizing congestion and pollution. Additionally, by providing personalized pick-up and drop off of users,” the statement said.

Careem have said that as a taxi service they are very aware of the problems involved with congestion and intra-city transport. And a mass transit solution like Next seems like a logical step if Careem wants to move more into the general transport arena, away from just taxis.

“Careem is a perfect partner from our perspective given their vision, credibility and success in transforming transportation across the MENA region,” said Emmanuele Spera, founder and CEO of Next. “We look forward to continuing our journey to bring advanced transportation technologies and practices to the region.”

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