Sustainable transporter ION has successfully completed the pilot trial for its NAVYA AUTONOM autonomous shuttles at the University City of Sharjah, the world’s largest integrated educational district in the world.
The trial, which was overseen by Sharjah Police for traffic and safety reasons, was designed to assess the operational efficiency of the driverless shuttles’ capabilities within the educational district.
The company added in a statement: “In addition to facilitating carbon-neutral mobility within the educational zone, the University City of Sharjah – which is among the world’s largest integrated educational district in the world – has the optimal infrastructure for operating next-generation technologies such as the autonomous electric vehicles. The experience also provided students with a practical example of future technologies while inspiring the UAE’s younger generation to channel their potential and creativity for the future.”
Intended to help students commute between colleges, the shuttles are equipped with a range of deep learning technologies, including 3D vision and environment recognition; automatic route navigation; IoT sensors for optimal safety, and motion-sensor doors. Driving seamless, smart, and sustainable mobility, the smart shuttles are emissions-free, wheelchair-accessible and have a capacity of 15 passengers.
“I am pleased to announce the successful completion of our NAVYA autonomous shuttle trials at Sharjah University City,” said HE Khaled Al Huraimel, Group CEO of Bee’ah and Chairman at ION, said. “The smart electric shuttles have the potential to offer regular and dependable services within the city, while reducing vehicular traffic and improving air quality.
“ION is committed to dramatically transforming human movement and shared mobility solutions, while driving rapid and mass adoption of electric vehicles to limit vehicular exhaust emissions, reduce air pollution and encourage a more sustainable quality of life here in the UAE. We thank the university management and Sharjah Police for their collaboration as we seek to find mutually beneficial solutions.”
The NAVYA shuttles are part of a larger fleet that has been operating at Masdar City since October 2018. ION announced a partnership with NAVYA, a leading company in autonomous driving systems, in January this year, to develop the concept of shared autonomous transport to the MENA region for the first time.
HE Khalid bin Butti Al Hajri, Director General of the University City of Sharjah aded: “This unique project is in line with the directive of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, to invest in Sharjah’s knowledge-based economy, as well as the technology and sustainability sectors. The University City in Sharjah was selected as a site for the pilot trial because it is a leading education and research and development hub in the Middle East.”
He added: “Our mandate at the University City is to improve the quality of the educational experience, while focusing on creativity and innovation. As part of this quest, it is vital to conduct advanced research and development projects and adopt future technologies that ensure we keep pace with modern trends. This mindset ensures that our educational district competes with prestigious universities globally.
Speaking of the partnership with ION, Al Hajri continued: “The autonomous shuttles pilot trial with ION enables us to enrich our students’ experience, exploring the possibility of advanced means of mobility solutions within the University City, and contributing to the preservation of the environment. We would like to thank ION, the sustainable transportation company under the Bee’ah Group, which pioneers sustainability in the Middle East, and Sharjah Police for their contribution to this successful pilot trial.”