Following the news that the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and Volkswagen (VW) are planning to put electric autonomous vehicles on Doha roads in 2022;
David Leggett, Automotive Editor at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view:
"This announcement makes sense for both Volkswagen and Qatar. For Volkswagen, it moves the advanced technologies on and takes the next vital step to real-world applications. The company's autonomous drive and future mobility units get a real project to work on that will be a valuable learning experience, as well as a blueprint for roll-out to other smart cities around the world. It should provide an ideal working platform with which to engage with city authorities.
"Doha is also an ideal testing ground as its roads are well maintained and the climate is reliable and dry - with no snow. Doha is a rich city and can afford the physical and digital infrastructure necessary for the autonomous vehicle ecosystem, which will be integrated to the city's existing public transport network.
“In addition, there is a positive image benefit for both parties. Volkswagen is keen to boost its environmental values after the reputational damage done by the 'dieselgate' scandal. Similarly, Qatar - which has faced some criticism for its high per capita CO2 emissions - will be able to burnish its green credentials as the operator of the first emission-free and autonomous public transport system ahead of the FIFA World Cup in 2022."