Saudi Arabia Launches World’s First Self-Driving Air Taxi Service for Pilgrims

Hajj pilgrims rejoice as travel becomes easier and quick.

by Deeplata Garde
Saudi Arabia Launches World’s First Self-Driving Air Taxi Service for Pilgrims

Saudi Arabia made history on Wednesday, June 12, by launching the world’s first self-driving flying taxi service for Hajj Pilgrims. This innovative service aims to enhance the pilgrimage experience during this year’s Haj season, starting Friday, June 14. As the first licensed air taxi by the Civil Aviation Authority, this electric marvel promises to revolutionise transportation in the Kingdom.

A Leap Towards Smart Mobility For Hajj Pilgrims

Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser, the Saudi Minister of Transport and Logistic Services, proudly declared this initiative the world’s first civil aviation authority-licensed flying taxi. This announcement reflects Saudi Arabia’s commitment to enhancing smart mobility and developing legislation that supports modern technologies. The self-driving air taxi exemplifies this dedication, standing out as one of 32 advanced technologies being implemented to assist pilgrims this Haj season.

Features Of The Self-Driving Electric Flying Taxi

The electric flying taxi offers more than just novelty. Designed to transport pilgrims across holy sites, it facilitates rapid medical emergency transfers and delivers essential supplies and goods. The service aims to streamline pilgrim movement and ensure swift responses to medical emergencies, showcasing the practical benefits of cutting-edge technology.

A Glimpse Into NEOM’s Futuristic Vision

Saudi Arabia’s ambitions don’t stop with Haj season. The Kingdom has also announced plans to operate flying taxis in NEOM, a futuristic city under development north of Mecca. Since 2021, NEOM has partnered with German firm Volocopter to deploy their eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) models. These models include the VoloCity for intracity air taxi services, the VoloRegion for intercity flights within NEOM’s regions, and the VoloDrone for cargo transport.

Also Read: India’s Flying Taxi By The ePlane Company Gets DGCA Design Approval

NEOM’s Sustainable Approach

Unlike traditional airports with large runways, NEOM will rely on eVTOLs, establishing safe flight corridors over less populated areas. This approach serves as a model for future sustainable cities. NEOM’s commitment to this vision is evident, with an order of 15 Volocopter aircraft and a $175 million investment in the German firm’s funding round in 2022.

Saudi Arabia’s launch of the world’s first self-driving air taxi service during the Haj season marks a significant milestone in transportation innovation. With plans to expand this technology in NEOM, the Kingdom is set to lead the way in smart mobility and sustainable urban development. This groundbreaking initiative not only enhances the pilgrim experience but also sets a new standard for future cities worldwide.

Cover Image Courtesy: GACA/X
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