Driverless electric vehicles set to hit Qatar roads this year Mar 09, 2017 0 5116 12345 Satyendra Pathak Doha French company Navya has partnered with Doha-based Smart Transport Company to launch driverless electric vehicles for commercial use in Qatar this year, a senior official of Group 8 Holding has said.Group 8 Holding, which owns Smart Transport and has 30 percent stake in Navya, will be the prime distributor of the 100 percent autonomous vehicle in Qatar. Named Navya Arma, the autonomous vehicle can transport up to 15 passengers with a speed of 45 kilometres per hour. The driverless vehicle was displayed at the QITCOM 2017 on Wednesday.Group 8 Holding General Manager Mir Asrar Ahmed told Qatar Tribune that Navya Arma would see its first commercial launch in Mesaieed Industrial City (MIC) by the end of this year. Ahmed said the vehicle would be available for commercial purposes in places like Hamad Port, Aspire Zone, West Bay and Qatar University from next year. "We have tested the technology successfully in Qatar by running pilot projects in specified areas. Now, we are ready for commercial launch after getting necessary approvals from the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC) in Qatar," Ahmed said. Once the commercial launch is successful, the vehicle would be introduced on main thoroughfares as well. Ahmed said MoTC has given its consent to set up a plant to assemble Navya Arma in Qatar. "We have finalised the location and the plant will be functional in 2018. While the engine and other vital parts will be imported from France, body parts will be manufactured in Qatar," he said. The company expects to deliver at least 150 Navya Arma vehicles for Qatar in the next five years, he said, adding that talks are on to open super-charging stations in the country soon. A Navya Arma can run at its full speed for nine hours once it is charged for three hours, he said. The price of the vehicle in Qatar will be announced after getting necessary approvals, he said.