Dubai on track in deal with UK monorail firm

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Updated 27 March 2020

Dubai on track in deal with UK monorail firm

  • Cross between traditional system and cable car will carry pods of four people high above road network

LONDON: Dubai has enlisted the help of a UK company in a bid to modernize the emirate’s transport system by building a monorail.  

The company, BeemCar, creates alternatives to traditional modes of transport, with an emphasis on being environmentally friendly. 

The proposed system, which will be a cross between a traditional monorail and a cable car, will transport “pods” of four people to and from their destinations, suspended high above Dubai’s busy road network, according to a newspaper report. 

The emirate hopes that the system will help ease congestion and facilitate its plans to have driverless technology transport a quarter of its population by 2030. 

The agreement with BeemCar was backed by the UK government, which sees the Gulf region as a potential business partner as the country looks to its future outside the EU. UK Transport Minister Chris Heaton-Harris was present at the signing of the agreement between BeemCar and the emirate.

Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia have all become bywords for radical technological advancement in recent years.

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Dubai hopes the proposed monorail will help facilitate its plans to have driverless technology for a quarter of its population by 2030.

Dubai and Abu Dhabi have already revealed plans to work with Los Angeles-based company Virgin Hyperloop One to link the two emirates via a hyperloop train network that would theoretically see people travel the 140-km distance in 12 minutes, reaching top speeds of up to 1,000 km per hour using vacuum technology.

The UAE’s space program is based in Dubai, which is set to launch a space probe to Mars this year. 

Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi is constructing Masdar City, a vast development centered on moving the emirate away from oil dependence, being both car-free and relying chiefly on solar electricity for power.

Saudi Arabia signed a deal with Virgin Hyperloop One in 2019 to build a 56-km test track and research facility north of Jeddah, with a view to building a network in the Kingdom in the future. 

At the time, Virgin said that if successful, a hyperloop could reduce the travel time from Jeddah to Riyadh from 10 hours to 76 minutes.

The Kingdom is also building a technologically visionary megacity, the Red Sea-based Neom in the northwest of the country, on the borders with Jordan and Egypt.


Nvidia deal for Arm will drive computing power growth, says SoftBank’s CEO

Updated 23 October 2020

Nvidia deal for Arm will drive computing power growth, says SoftBank’s CEO

  • Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) is an anchor investor in the $100 billion Vision Fund

TOKYO/DUBAI: SoftBank Group Corp. CEO Masayoshi Son said on Thursday the sale of chip designer Arm to Nvidia Corp. will drive growth in computing power, in his first public comments since the $40 billion deal was announced in September.
Son made the comments at a virtual summit about artificial intelligence hosted by Saudi Arabia, an anchor investor in the $100 billion Vision Fund, at which he reiterated his belief that AI would transform society.
The Nvidia deal, part of a series of asset sales by Son, whose group has been shaken by soured investments and the COVID-19 pandemic, has raised concerns it will threaten Arm’s role as a neutral supplier in the industry.
Son is set to speak next week with Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang at SoftBank World, the group’s annual event for customers and suppliers that is being retooled as it focuses on investing.
SoftBank’s growing cash pile is driving speculation about future investment plans, with the Vision Fund targeting external funding for a blank-check company, a source said, in a sign the group is regaining its mojo.
“I am a risk taker,” Son said on Thursday.
Rajeev Misra, CEO of SoftBank Investment Advisers which oversees the Vision Fund, said the market share gained by online commerce companies in the last six to eight months is more than what they gained in the previous four years put together.
“COVID has accelerated the acceleration of AI even further,” Misra told the same conference, adding in the 105 companies Vision Fund 1 and 2 have invested in, artificial intelligence is the core of their businesses.