A deal has been struck between Saudi Arabia’s new $ 500 billion super city and urban air mobility pioneer Volocopter to create the world’s first public air taxi and logistics services.
Last month, Volocopter completed the first-ever public crewed test flight of a fully electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) air taxi in South Korea – with zero in-flight emissions – at Gimpo International Airport . A technology that will now be harnessed by NEOM’s development in northwest Saudi Arabia, dubbed the “roadmap for the future of civilization,” 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, CEO of NEOM. “Through this joint venture with Volocopter, we are demonstrating to the world that NEOM is the ideal region to rapidly implement urban air mobility and create a fully integrated vertical mobility ecosystem. NEOM’s mission is to become a global living laboratory for future mobility, and we’re very excited to see what the future holds as we grow.
The eVTOL ecosystem will deliver 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 center, which will be supplied 100% with clean energy, has already confirmed an order for 15 Volocopter aircraft, the first operations of which should start within three years.
Revolution in urban life
Located at the junction of three continents, NEOM will function as an independent economic zone that connects the Asian, European and African markets.
The NEOM master plan also includes the 170 km revolution of city life called THE LINE.
Earlier this year, His Royal Highness Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince and Chairman of the Board of Directors of NEOM, announced THE LINE. Billed as a “model of how people and the planet can coexist in harmony,” this area of hyper-connected communities will have no cars or roads and will be built around nature. Residents will be able to access services such as schools, medical clinics, recreation facilities, as well as green spaces, on foot in less than five minutes.
“As Chairman of the Board of NEOM, I present to you THE LINE,” His Royal Highness said at its launch. “A city of one million inhabitants with a length of 170 km which preserves 95% of nature within NEOM, with zero cars, zero streets and zero carbon emissions.”
Another piece of the NEOM puzzle, OXAGON, was unveiled last month. The octagonal floating structure will house the smart and clean factories of the future and begin welcoming manufacturers from seven industries to work there from 2022.
Al-Nasr added, “Thanks to OXAGON, there will be a fundamental change in the way the world views manufacturing centers. What encourages us is to see the enthusiasm of a number of our partners who have been eager 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 in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Like THE LINE, OXAGON will be a global cognitive city that will offer an exceptional quality of life to its residents.