The Roads & Transport Authority today announced the pilot launch of autonomous food delivery robots, also known as “talabots,” in Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO), revolutionizing sustainable last-mile delivery in the UAE in collaboration with the Dubai Integrated Economic Zones Authority (DIEZ) and talabat UAE.
In keeping with Dubai’s ambitions to transition 25% of all transportation journeys in Dubai to smart and autonomous by 2030, this is a component of the organizations’ combined efforts to deploy cutting-edge technology and promote the use of zero-emission means of delivery while improving efficiency.
Three “talabots” will be introduced in the pilot phase to service the inhabitants of Cedre Villas, a gated community in the center of DSO, the integrated free zone technological park, which is a member of DIEZ. Cedre Villas is a member of DIEZ. The “talabots” will go within a 3-kilometer radius from the Cedre shopping Center launch point, ensuring a quick 15-minute delivery period. They are designed for maximum efficiency and peaceful urban life.
The introduction of autonomous delivery robots is a part of efforts to help customers in the transition to sustainable delivery. Robots will handle local deliveries to improve fleet efficiency, lower carbon emissions, and support riders.
Dr Juma Al Matrooshi, Director General of Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO), said: “Smart mobility is one of the six pillars of DSO’s Smart City Strategy, which is at the core of piloting carbon-neutral delivery robots in a closely monitored and controlled environment within the hi-tech park. We look forward to the success of this trial, and its expansion as part of DSO’s role as an innovation- and knowledge hub under the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan.”
Al Matrooshi added: “Our partnership with the public and private sectors yields new opportunities in different industries and supports sustainable development and accelerates the achievement of the strategic initiative UAE Net Zero by 2050. This supports building up a sustainable and smart socio-economic environment that instils Dubai’s and the wider UAE’s statuses as a preferred destination to live, work, invest, innovate, and test smart technologies of the future.”
Ahmed Bahrozyan, Chief Executive Officer of The Public Transport Agency, RTA, said: “This step is in line with the RTA’s strategy to promote innovation, integration, innovative mobility, and relevant skills and expertise, in addition to providing the private sector with the tools needed to adopt autonomous mobility services in its operational processes. This ensures providing added value for customers, in accordance with the effort of Dubai and the UAE in this regard.”
Bahrozyan emphasized that RTA is eager to expand its partnerships with the private sector in collaboration with local partners, with the aim of spreading the culture of innovation in the transportation sector, along with integrating such innovations into its operations, to achieve the emirate’s vision in this sphere.
For his part, Muammar Al Katheeri, Chief Officer Engineering & Smart City at DIEZ, stated: “DIEZ is eager to execute cutting-edge concepts that complement the smart city policy of Dubai. The pilot of autonomous delivery robots at DSO, in partnership with RTA and talabat, is one such initiative. By conceiving, planning, and implementing the future as well as by testing eco-friendly technology to lower carbon emissions in accordance with 2023 being the Year of Sustainability, it also helps to realize the ambition of placing Dubai as the smartest city. With the help of this alliance, we want to provide Dubai’s growing need for delivery and logistics services some cutting-edge, risk-free, and practical options.
“A monumental leap towards the future of online food delivery and smart mobility, we are excited and proud to unveil our fleet of talabots, which witnessed great success when they were first introduced in Expo 2020 Dubai, to offer sustainable and seamless delivery experiences to residents in DSO,” said Tatiana Rahal, Managing Director at talabat UAE, in response to the ground-breaking launch. We credit RTA and DIEZ, two outstanding partners and leaders in their domains, who worked with us to assist the next phase of this industry’s digital transformation, for our success. In the future, talabat will further strengthen the UAE’s position as a leader in game-changing technology that will benefit the country’s people, environment, and economy.
This milestone is a direct outcome of the Dubai World Challenge for Self-Driving Transport, which is yearly organized by the RTA and was held at DSO. The second stage of testing for applicants was focused on “Self-driving Logistical Services,” which comprises ground transportation and drones. As self-driving transportation is a key component of RTA’s strategy, the RTA also hopes to increase the implementation of this technology at all levels through empowering and enabling industry leaders. The RTA has started a number of ground-breaking projects recently with the goal of bringing self-driving transportation to Dubai.
The AI technology used in the talabots protects people’s identities by obscuring faces without any facial recognition detecting function, in accordance with UAE legislation that place a high focus on community privacy protection. Additionally, the talabots are equipped with a variety of built-in sensors and cutting-edge algorithms that can intelligently assess their surroundings and detect obstacles in their path, keeping a safe distance from children and pets. This helps them blend in peacefully with the community and gives customers peace of mind.
How it works
Employing the latest in advanced artificial intelligence for point-to-point food delivery, the robots will transport orders from the nearest restaurant partners to the residential neighborhood of Cedre Villas, meeting customers at their doorstep. With talabat’s app interface fully integrated, customers will be able to track the robot’s journey and will be notified through the app when it arrives at their property. Once arrived, the customer can unlock the secure compartment by following the steps provided within the talabat app.