Tribune News Network
Minister of Transport HE Jassim Saif Ahmed Al Sulaiti on Sunday witnessed the test operation of level 4 fully autonomous electric minibuses conducted by Mowasalat (Karwa) in cooperation with Yutong, a Chinese manufacturer of commercial vehicles, especially electric buses.
He also took a tour at Karwa and was briefed on the company’s operational plan for the upcoming FIFA Arab Cup Qatar 2021, which begins this Nov. 30 and sees the deployment of the first batch of electric buses to serve the fans of the event. He also inspected the public transit bus plans in general.
The test operation comes within the framework of executing the electric vehicle strategy the Ministry developed with bodies concerned. The strategy backs the country’s agenda for a green future by contributing to striking an economic-environmental balance in a way that ensures the sustainability of transportation sector’s infrastructure projects, as well as modernizing the modes of transportation through deploying alternative, clean energy in step with latest universal ecofriendly systems to reduce harmful carbon emissions and, therefore, create a clean, healthy and safe environment for generations to come.
The months-long test operation will be evaluated to ensure such buses suit Qatar’s climate conditions. If successful, Qatar could become one of the very first countries in the world to start deploying such a transit system.
Level 4 technology is the most advanced for the time being. A level 4 fully autonomous electric minibus can run autonomously without any need for a driver. But a driver can be there as a backup to handle any emergency. Those buses are equipped with several radars, lidars and advanced cameras that support the bus to recognize all the surrounding objects and react accordingly while in motion, giving the bus a high degree of visibility at up to 250 meters of range. These technologies help enhance safety on roads.
Each minibus can carry 8 passengers and travel 40 kilometers per hour. Its battery takes roughly an hour and half to reach full charge and the bus can travel 100 kilometers per single full battery.