Volocopter has established a joint venture (JV) company with the northwest Saudi Arabia region of NEOM to design, implement and operate the world's first bespoke public vertical mobility system there; air taxi and vertical logistics services will be fully integrated with the overall multi-modal and zero-emission public transit system. The company will be the sole operator of initial public transit routes across NEOM, while enabling an open eVTOL ecosystem for vertical mobility services including logistics, emergency response and tourism. NEOM has placed a confirmed order of 15 Volocopter aircraft to commence initial flight operations within the next two to three years.
NEOM CEO Nadhmi Al-Nasr says: "In designing cities and urban infrastructure for the 21st century, mobility is at the centre of the equation. 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 collaboration between NEOM and Volocopter will lead the design and development of a three-dimensional public transportation system, advancing the technical, regulatory and infrastructure solutions for eVTOL operations across the region. The JV will offer vertical mobility services as an integral part of NEOM's multi-modal and zero-emissions public mobility system, providing seamless connectivity for passengers and goods.
The two companies have agreed an initial order of 10 VoloCity passenger and five VoloDrone logistics aircraft to support early activation of flight operations. The JV will scale-up its activities from the beginning of 2022 to incubate UAM in the region and seed a vertical mobility ecosystem. The partnership delivers on NEOM's mission to be a global living lab for future mobility and a centre of excellence for eVTOL innovation and industry.
Volocopter CCO Christian Bauer comments: "The partnership with NEOM and the new JV we are creating together is going to be an exciting journey. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be an essential part of designing and operating a completely new UAM ecosystem from the ground up without the constraint of legacy infrastructure or regulation, and as pioneers in the industry, Volocopter is honoured to be the trusted partner to contribute to NEOM's ambitious vision."
eVTOLs are an essential part of NEOM's mobility mission, enabling transportation of people and goods without extensive surface infrastructure. Vertical mobility services will connect its core urban development The Line, reimagined industrial city Oxagon and other regional destinations, avoiding extensive road construction and thus protecting its unique natural environment.
NEOM is implementing the first sustainable and seamlessly connected mobility system powered by 100 per cent renewable energy, deploying zero-emission vehicles across all urban and regional mobility modes. It aims to closely integrate advanced smart infrastructure and advanced transit systems with active, shared and autonomous mobility solutions to overcome the adverse legacy of the car-centric city. Working with a range of innovation partners, the region has initiated shared electric mobility services, autonomous shuttles, electric boats, personal eVTOLs, delivery drones and solar-powered mobility hubs.
Overall, the aim is for NEOM to be home and workplace to more than one million residents. It will include hyperconnected, cognitive towns and cities, ports and enterprise zones, research centers, sports and entertainment venues, and tourist destinations. As a hub for innovation it should attract the research and commercialisation of new technologies and enterprises.