The 2018 KPMG Autonomous Vehicles Readiness Index (AVRI) evaluates the preparedness of 20 countries.
It is hardly a week since the Future Mobility Conference took place in Abu Dhabi. As I write this, the Global EVRT (electric vehicle road trip) is somewhere in its second stage, moving towards its conclusion at the Sustainable City. Installing 19 new charging stations is part of the agenda, just as the establishment of the feasibility of a cross-country, trans-border journey in electric vehicles is. I have always maintained that electric vehicle and autonomous vehicle technology are the two rails that move forward in parallel, taking future mobility ahead. Every step is a preparation towards the alternative and the autonomous, and now the KPMG Autonomous Vehicles Readiness Index (AVRI) has revealed that United Arab Emirates is among the top 10 countries when it comes to the readiness to bring on driverless vehicles.
The KPMG study evaluates every country in what is considered to be the four all-important pillars in strengthening the foundation for future mobility: policy and legislation; technology and innovation; infrastructure; and consumer acceptance. This first of its kind initiative highlights the progress so far as well as the best practices that will help countries to adopt autonomous transport sooner. The top list features countries in the following order: Netherlands, Singapore, US, Sweden, UK, Germany, Canada, UAE, South Korea, New Zealand.
The many factors that weigh in a country’s autonomous driving readiness include the availability of electric vehicle charging stations, research and development in autonomous transport technology, people’s willingness to adopt the technology, and the regulatory environment. The Netherlands, for instance, has widespread acceptance of electric cars, a high density of charging stations, a robust telecommunications network that is vital for directing AVs and large-scale AV road tests planned (R&D).
The readiness of the UAE
Among the 20 countries in the list, UAE consolidated its dominance as number one for road quality and number six in policy and legislation. The country is also credited for having a dedicated and autonomous function within its transport department, for quality of regulation, and for the government’s ability to manage change and cultivate opportunity.
The AVRI ranking reaffirms the UAE’s vision to become one of the most technologically advanced nations on the planet. For instance, Dubai Autonomous Transport Strategy envisages one quarter of the cars on Dubai’s roads to become driverless by 2030. Last year, the world’s first urban aerial taxi was tested and showcased in Dubai. “By ensuring its investments in the Internet of Things, Data and Analytics and Artificial Intelligence, and reinforcing its commitment to Smart City transformation, the UAE epitomizes an innovation culture and will aim to lead the world in this field,” says Ravi Suri, Partner and Global Head of Infrastructure Finance, KPMG Lower Gulf.
The benefits are not simply abstract. This strategy of UAE is expected to payback to the tune of AED 22 million in economic revenues through a reduction of transport costs, carbon emissions and accidents, and hundreds of millions of hours wasted in conventional transportation. The term ‘investment in the future’ is appropriate in this regard.
The AVRI highlights showcases some common traits among the most prepared countries – like support from public authorities, roads and mobile network infrastructure, and private sector investment and innovation.