Pune-based online self driving car platform has expanded to the United Arab Emirates with a license to start operations. It will roll out 1,500 vehicles in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Ras al-Khaimah in the first phase and will be live from January 2018. In the second phase, the company will roll out 1,500 more cars in the third quarter of 2017-18 in the Middle East covering ‘major Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) regions.’

The company plans to invest in electric cars, self driving cars and cargo transport in the UAE. It will launch its platform for both B2B and B2C products for long and short term leasing of cars.

Pinewood Service Corporation, the parent company, will invest 5 million Dirhams or Rs 9.19 crore ($1.3 million) in the first phase and look to raise 10 million Dirhams ($2.7 million) to fund its second phase in March 2018. Soham Shah, founder and Director of Pinewood, said that the company expected 30 million Dirhams (over $8 million) in revenues for its first year of operations.

SelfDrive: 6,000 users and 650 cars in India

SelfDrive currently operates in Mumbai with plans to expand to Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad and Chennai in the next few months. In April, the company told YourStory that it was looking to raise $6 million by October this year for its Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad expansion, but that doesn’t seem to have happened. The company claims to have 650 cars on hire and said it would be net profitable starting this year. At the time, Shah told Times of India that SelfDrive had 6,000 customers who used the service 4-5 times a month and that 90% of its revenues came from retail clients.

India competition

In India, SelfDrive competes with companies like:

–  Revv, which recently raised $9 million in Series A equity funding.
– JustRide, a self-drive car rental marketplace, which raised $3 million in bridge funding last month.
– In self drive car rentals in India, Zoomcar is the most funded company: Zoomcar raised $24 million from for scaling its Zoomcar Associate Program.
– Myles, another startup, claims to have 1,200 cars in 250 locations in the country, with plans to expand to 50,000 in the next 4 years.

Also read: Regulation will come in when carpooling gets popular in India – Raghav Gupta, BlaBlaCar