Saudi Arabia has unveiled plans to experience self-driving shuttles to facilitate pilgrim transport during the Hajj season for the first time this year.
According to a statement from the Saudi Transport Authority, these autonomous buses employ artificial intelligence (AI), cameras, and surrounding sensors to navigate pre-defined routes without human intervention.
The statement also mentioned that the buses are capable of gathering and analyzing information while in motion to make necessary decisions.
As per the announcement, each bus can accommodate 11 passengers and operates for six hours per journey. The vehicles are designed to reach a speed of up to 30 km per hour.
The trial aims to ease the movement of Hajj pilgrims, assess the feasibility of using such technology during the Hajj, and establish necessary guidelines for commercial operation in the coming years.
For the trial, Route No. 6 has been assigned, with the route spanning 4 km and the road width measuring 11 meters, according to the Transport Authority’s statement.
Saudi Minister of Hajj, Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, stated last Thursday that the number of pilgrims has returned to pre-pandemic levels.