5 Ways MENA Countries Can Benefit From Self-Driving Cars

5 Ways MENA Countries Can Benefit From Self-Driving Cars
5 Ways MENA Countries Can Benefit From Self-Driving Cars. Image source: Pixabay

The latest studies show that traffic-related injuries and deaths continue to rise in the MENA region. Libya, a country in North Africa, has the highest road traffic death rate. The Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Iran, and other African and Middle Eastern nations are on the list as well.

The top causes of these traffic accidents are driver-related. These include speeding, driving under the influence, using a mobile device while on the road, and failing to follow all fundamental safety rules.

Implementing strict road traffic laws and ensuring drivers follow them play an important role in keeping streets and highways safe for both car owners and pedestrians. A more innovative approach, which many countries are pushing for, is to invest in automated transport or self-driving vehicles.

The most remarkable benefit that driverless vehicles offer in the MENA region and across the world is increased road safety. As already mentioned, driver error is the primary cause of traffic accidents. Without a careless, distracted, or drunk person behind the wheel, crashes and collisions will be significantly reduced.

Autonomous vehicles run on analytical technology, relying on cameras, radar, and other sensors to navigate the road safely. With no emotion, distraction, or bad habits involved, these cars are less likely to make mistakes that can lead to accidents. 

Aside from improved road safety, below are five more ways countries in the MENA region can benefit from the increased use of self-driving cars

1.    Lower CO2 Emissions

Manufacturers of self-driving vehicles are continually working on the technology involved to ensure that driverless cars can be optimized to ensure efficient fuel consumption. Many brands are even aiming to reduce emissions by at least 60 percent.

Although fuel-powered self-driving cars will still emit carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide, their increased efficiency will make the air safer and healthier, and the earth cleaner and greener. 

If people choose to invest in automated electric vehicles, their carbon footprint will be further reduced. The environment will enjoy even more benefits, too.

2.    Less Traffic 

The common cause of frequent traffic jams is selfish behavior among drivers and not following traffic rules. Their refusal to allow other vehicles to change lanes to enter or exit the freeway causes congestion that makes road travel time-consuming and stressful.

These traffic jams cost vehicle owners and commuters to waste time and money as they are stuck on the road as well.

Since autonomous transport is free of an emotional, possibly selfish driver, this means there is no concern about drivers trying to outsmart each other to get ahead of others.

Driverless vehicles can freely change lanes based on system updates. They can be programmed to create space for other vehicles automatically. Because of this, traffic will continue to flow smoothly, and congestion will be reduced and even eliminated.

3.    Improved Productivity on the Road

With self-driving cars, no one needs to get behind the wheel and end up doing nothing else except operate the vehicle. Regardless of the travel time, everyone inside the automobile can do whatever they need or want to do without the fear of getting into any accident or getting lost.

Passengers of automated vehicles can compose and send emails, take or return phone calls, and complete presentations or reports. Working parents can check their kids’ assignments and give last-minute instructions to their family or employees while on-the-go.

Passengers can also read a book, listen to their favorite tunes, or even take a nap while on the road. When people can relax while traveling, they will feel more refreshed, energized, and ready to take on the next day’s activities, whether it’s working, studying, or running errands.

4.    Freedom of Mobility for the Disabled and Elderly

For many seniors and people with disabilities such as vision and physical impairment, traveling without assistance is impossible. Whether their destination is near or far, they need to have another person drive them or accompany them during their commute.

With autonomous vehicles, road travel will no longer be a problem for the elderly and disabled. A self-driving car can be programmed to pick up passengers and bring them to their destination. The auto will even park itself.

Seniors and people with disabilities, therefore, won’t have to rely too much on their family members or caregivers to drive them around. They can also go wherever they want, anytime.

5.    Better Parking Efficiency

Finally, self-driving vehicles reduce and can even remove the high demand for street and lot parking.

This is because automated vehicles will drop their passengers exactly at their destination. This eliminates the need to look for a large parking area spacious enough for commuters to get out of the car.

What’s more, self-driving cars can park themselves even in spots that put them close to other vehicles.

With all these remarkable benefits, Dubai is taking the essential steps to achieve its goal of being the first city in the MENA region to adopt a completely autonomous transport system by 2030. You can learn more about this by joining the Self-Driving Vehicle Congress in Dubai in October 2019.



Ahmed Bahrozyan is the Chief Executive Officer of the Public Transport Agency – Roads and Transport Authority in the United Arab Emirates which is responsible for providing for the needs of public transport in the city. He is also Chairperson of the Dubai World Congress for Self-Driving Transport organizing committee.