Volocopter has partnered with NEOM, the smart and sustainable regional development in Saudi Arabia, to design, implement and operate the world’s first bespoke public eVTOL mobility system.

This includes a confirmed order of 15 aircraft from Volocopter – 10 VoloCity passenger and five VoloDrone logistics aircraft – with the aim to begin initial flight operations within the next two to three years.

Air taxi and vertical logistics services will be fully integrated with the overall multi-modal and zero-emission public transit system in NEOM. The joint venture will be the sole operator of initial public transit routes across NEOM, while enabling an open eVTOL aircraft ecosystem for vertical mobility services including logistics, emergency response, and tourism.

Christian Bauer, Chief Commercial Officer at Volocopter, said: “The partnership with NEOM and the new joint venture 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 urban air mobility 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.” 

The joint venture will scale-up its activities from the beginning of 2022 to incubate urban air mobility 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. The first section of NEOM expects to be completed by 2025.

It is implementing the first truly sustainable and seamlessly connected mobility system powered by 100 per cent 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.

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 joint venture 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.

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.

Florian Lennert, Head of Mobility at NEOM, added: “We are incredibly excited and proud to partner with Volocopter to make vertical mobility a reality here at NEOM. Volocopter is internationally recognised 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 revolutionising mobility.” 

NEOM will be the home and workplace to more than a million residents from around the world and include hyperconnected, cognitive towns and cities, ports and enterprise zones, research centres, sports and entertainment venues, and tourist destinations.

As a hub for innovation, entrepreneurs, business leaders and companies will come to research, incubate, and commercialise new technologies and enterprises in groundbreaking ways.

eVTOL aircraft 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.