Dubai takes a big step towards its vision of being a model for cities of the future as His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, issues Law No. (9) of 2023 regulating the operations of autonomous vehicles in the city.

The new law aims to promote smart mobility transformation in Dubai, attract investments in the autonomous vehicles sector, and provide a regulatory environment that fosters the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in transportation. The legislation is in line with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid’s strategic vision to transform Dubai into the best city in the world to live, work, and visit.

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) will regulate the autonomous vehicles sector, according to the law. The Authority will develop policies and strategic plans to enhance the performance of autonomous vehicles, classify different categories of autonomous vehicles, and define technical, operational, and safety standards for them.

Furthermore, RTA will identify the roads, areas, and routes where autonomous vehicles can operate and set speed limits for them. The Authority will also establish infrastructure necessary for autonomous vehicle operations and develop traffic solutions to ensure road safety.

The law stipulates that the Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the RTA must issue a license for any activity related to autonomous vehicles. To obtain a license, vehicles must pass the RTA’s technical test and have the technological capability to read road signs.

Operators, agents, and passengers all have specific obligations and responsibilities under the new law. Operators of autonomous vehicles must cover all damages resulting from accidents, while the sale and transfer of autonomous vehicles must be done through authorized agents, and transfers between operators require pre-approval from the RTA.

Violators of the law face fines ranging from AED500 to AED20,000, which could be doubled for repeat offenses within the same year. The maximum fine for violations is AED50,000.

Dubai’s government entities are required to cooperate with the RTA to help it fulfill its responsibilities regarding the autonomous vehicles sector, according to the new law. In areas not covered by specific provisions of the law, Federal Law No. (21) of 1995 concerning Road Traffic, its executive regulations and amendments, and relevant decisions and legislation will continue to apply. Any legislation conflicting with the new law will be annulled.

Law No. (9) of 2023 will be effective 90 days after its publication in the Official Gazette. With this new law, Dubai is making significant strides towards becoming a pioneer in the autonomous vehicle industry, creating a smart and sustainable transportation system that will contribute to its long-term development.