A deal has been struck between Saudi Arabia’s $500 billion new super city and urban air mobility pioneer Volocopter to create the world’s first ever public air taxi and logistic services.
Last month Volocopter completed the first ever crewed public test flight of a fully electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) air taxi in South Korea – with zero emissions in flight – at Gimpo International Airport. Technology that will now be harnessed by the NEOM development in northwest Saudi Arabia, labelled a ‘roadmap for the future of civilisation’, to establish the fully public eVTOL mobility system.
“In designing cities and urban infrastructure for the 21st century, mobility is at the center of the equation,” said Nadhmi Al-Nasr— Chief Executive Officer, NEOM. “Through this joint venture with Volocopter, we are demonstrating to the world that NEOM is the ideal region to implement urban air mobility rapidly and create a fully integrated vertical mobility ecosystem. NEOM is on a mission to become a global living lab for future mobility, and we are very excited to see what the future holds as we grow.”
The eVTOL ecosystem will offer logistics, emergency response, and tourism services to a cognitive city designed to make smart and sustainable choices for its citizens. And the carbon-positive urban centre, which will be powered by 100% clean energy, has already confirmed an order for 15 Volocopter aircrafts, with initial operations due to begin within three years.
Revolution in urban living
Situated where three continents meet, NEOM will operate as an independent economic zone that connects Asian, European and African markets.
The NEOM master plan also includes the 170km revolution in urban living called THE LINE.
Earlier this year His Royal Highness Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince and Chairman of the NEOM Company Board of Directors, announced THE LINE. Showcased as a ‘blueprint for how people and planet can co-exist in harmony’, this zone of hyper-connected communities will have no cars or roads, and be built around nature. Residents will be able to access services like schools, medical clinics, leisure facilities, as well as green spaces, on foot within five minutes.
“As the Chairman of the Board of Directors of NEOM, I present to you THE LINE,” His Royal Highness said at its launch. “A city of a million residents with a length of 170 km that preserves 95% of nature within NEOM, with zero cars, zero streets and zero carbon emissions.”
Another piece of the NEOM jigsaw, OXAGON, was unveiled last month. The octagonal floating structure will house smart, clean factories of the future, and will begin welcoming manufacturers from seven industries to work there from 2022.
Al-Nasr added: “Through OXAGON, there will be a fundamental shift in how the world views manufacturing centres. What encourages us is to see the enthusiasm of a number of our partners who have shown eagerness to start their projects in OXAGON. These pioneers of change will establish factories, developed with the latest technologies in artificial intelligence, to achieve a significant leap for this era into the Fourth Industrial Revolution. As with THE LINE, OXAGON will be a comprehensive cognitive city that provides exceptional livability for its residents.”