Tuesday, August 16

The urban transport service with eVTOL is already a reality: this is how Neom, the new Smart city in Saudi Arabia, will be equipped with one

This is what new cities have, built from scratch with a level of careful planning to the millimeter and a “Smart city” philosophy: they are magnificent test beds for services and incipient technologies such as eVTOL electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft. Those responsible for Neom, the city promoted by Saudi Arabia with a million-dollar investment and that aspires to become a benchmark for an intelligent metropolis; and the startup Volocopter, have just signed an agreement to provide the Saudi city with the first customized transport service with eVTOL.

The deal was announced a couple of days ago and –as detailed by Volocopter itself through a statement– contemplates the creation of a joint venture (JV) to “Design, implement and operate” a service that qualifies as pioneering on an international level. “The air taxi and vertical logistics services will be fully integrated with the general multimodal public transport system and zero emissions in Neom”, highlight the company and the Saudi authorities, who also have their sights set on the transport of goods, emergencies and tourism.

A first order of 15 vehicles

For now, Neom has already ordered 15 eVTOLs. The objective: “Begin initial flight operations” within two to three years, which, if the most optimistic expectations are met, would allow the Volocopter devices to be seen flying over the city at the end of 2023.

Of the ten and a half vehicles ordered, ten will be VoloCity, models designed for passengers; and the remaining five VoloDrone, focused on logistics. The joint venture In any case, it will not wait for the first flights to get to work. In a matter of months, already in early 2022, he wants “Sow an ecosystem of vertical mobility”.

Nadhmi Al-Nasr, from Neom and Christian Bauer, from Volocopter, during the signing of the agreement.

Located in the province of Tabuk, northwest of Saudi Arabia and on the shores of the Red Sea, Neom is promoting itself as a paradigm of Smart cities with an estimated investment of 500,000 million dollars. The goal of the new metropolis – as its promoters boasted in early 2021 – is to build on Artificial Intelligence and achieve the goal of zero: “Zero cars, zero roads and zero carbon emissions”. The agreement with Volocopter points precisely in that direction and seeks to open the way for other countries. “Neom is on a mission to become a global living laboratory for future mobility ”, highlights its Chief Executive Officer, Nadhmi A-Nasr.

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The agreement comes at an important moment also for Volocopter, which just a month ago made a show of strength and capabilities by releasing a video in which one of its manned eVTOLs is seen during a test at Gimpo airport in Seoul. Your device, a 2X model, reached 50 meters high and traveled 3 kilometers at a speed of 45 km / h.


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