NEOM and Volocopter establish a joint venture to create the world’s first bespoke public eVTOL mobility system – sUAS News – The Business of Drones
NEOM, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 1 December 2021 – NEOM, the smart and sustainable regional development in northwest Saudi Arabia and Volocopter, the pioneer of urban air mobility, have established a joint venture (JV) company to design, implement, and operate the world’s first bespoke public vertical mobility system in NEOM. Air taxi and vertical logistics services will be fully integrated with the overall multi-modal and zero-emission public transit system in NEOM. The JV will be the sole operator of initial public transit routes across NEOM, while enabling an open eVTOL (electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing) 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 2-3 years.
Nadhmi Al-Nasr, Chief Executive Officer at NEOM, said: “In designing cities and urban infrastructure for the 21st century, mobility is at the center 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 truly three-dimensional public transportation system, advancing the technical, regulatory, and infrastructure solutions for eVTOL operations across NEOM. 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.
Florian Lennert, Head of Mobility at NEOM, said: “We are incredibly excited and proud to partner with Volocopter to make vertical mobility a reality here at NEOM. Volocopter is internationally recognized for leading innovation in the eVTOL industry and is a perfect match for our ambitious goals to create the first truly sustainable, shared, and seamlessly integrated mobility system in the world. Volocopter’s expertise, experience, and vision will allow us to lead the design and implementation of eVTOL operations regionally and globally. I am truly looking forward to jointly revolutionizing mobility.”
Volocopter and NEOM have agreed an initial order of 10 VoloCity passenger and 5 VoloDrone logistics aircraft to support early activation of flight operations. The JV will scale-up its activities from the beginning of 2022 to incubate urban air mobility (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 center of excellence for eVTOL innovation and industry.
On this new partnership, Christian Bauer, Chief Commercial Officer at Volocopter, stated: “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 honored 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 NEOM’s core urban development THE LINE, reimagined industrial city OXAGON and other regional destinations, avoiding intrusive road construction and thus protecting its unique natural environment.
NEOM is implementing the first truly sustainable and seamlessly connected mobility system powered by 100% renewable energy, deploying zero-emission vehicles across all urban and regional mobility modes. NEOM will shape the future of mobility by closely integrating 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, NEOM has initiated shared electric mobility services, autonomous shuttles, electric boats, personal eVTOLs, delivery drones, and solar-powered mobility hubs.