Google wants to bring driverless cars, more jobs to Mideast

Internet giant says it wants to increase headcount in Dubai and Cairo to 100

Ben Flanagan
Ben Flanagan - Al Arabiya News, Dubai
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Google plans to create more jobs in the Middle East and says it would “love” to bring its driverless cars to the region within five years, a senior executive told Al Arabiya News.

The company currently employs about 80 people across its Dubai and Cairo offices, but says it hopes to increase this to 100 as early as next year.

“There’s a nice psychological thing to cross the 100 mark. I don’t know if we are going to cross next year, but that’s a nice target for me,” said Mohamad Mourad, regional manager for Google in the Middle East and North Africa.

The company is currently advertising seven jobs in Dubai and two in Cairo.

Mourad added that the internet giant would like to bring its ‘driverless’ cars to the region, although stressed that this is not an immediate priority.

“Will we see driverless cars in Dubai in the next five years? Maybe, yes. It’s not on my to-do list. But I would love to, yes,” said Mourad.

“The challenge there is first of all cost, for it to become accessible for everyone. And the other thing is regulation – to be able to get these cars on the streets around the world.”


Dubai’s Roads & Transport Authority did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the legality of driverless cars in the emirate.

Google is still testing its driverless cars, which recently completed 500,000 miles of road tests. Several states in the U.S. have passed legislation to allow the cars.

The company announced the self-driving car project in 2010, give a goal of making "driving safer, more enjoyable and more efficient".

Mourad also said that he forecasts digital advertising to grow to be worth a quarter of the Arab world’s $5.15 billion market.

Despite Mourad's remarks, a Google spokeswoman insisted there are no current plans for driverless cars in the region.

"Google has no plans to bring driverless cars to the Middle East," the spokeswoman told Al Arabiya News.


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