Habtoor joins Israeli tech firm on ‘robo-taxi’ plan 

Habtoor joins Israeli tech firm on ‘robo-taxi’ plan 
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Khalaf Al Habtoor signed a deal with Mobileye, the Israeli high-tech firm owned by Intel, that will provide the technology for the next generation of self-drive and autonomous vehicles in the UAE. (AN Photo)
Habtoor joins Israeli tech firm on ‘robo-taxi’ plan 
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Khalaf Al Habtoor signed a deal with Mobileye, the Israeli high-tech firm owned by Intel, that will provide the technology for the next generation of self-drive and autonomous vehicles in the UAE. (AN Photo)
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Updated 23 September 2020

Habtoor joins Israeli tech firm on ‘robo-taxi’ plan 

Habtoor joins Israeli tech firm on ‘robo-taxi’ plan 
  • Mobileye technology will be fitted into cars from the Habtoor dealership, which has the Dubai franchise for Mitsubishi
  • Founder of Mobileye Amnon Shashua: Dubai is classic territory to launch technologies for smart cities and a natural for deploying autonomous cars

DUBAI: In the latest sign of increased UAE-Israeli business co-operation, Al Habtoor Group, the Dubai-based hotels and motor conglomerate, has teamed up with a Jerusalem-based company on plans to put “robo-taxis” on the roads of the emirate.

Khalaf Al Habtoor, founding chairman of the group, signed a deal with Mobileye, the Israeli high-tech firm owned by Intel, that will provide the technology for the next generation of self-drive and autonomous vehicles in the UAE.

Mobileye technology will be fitted into cars from the Habtoor dealership, which has the Dubai franchise for Mitsubishi, one of the leading volume car marques in the region, as well as several luxury brands.

Amnon Shashua, the billionaire Israeli founder of Mobileye who sold the company to Intel for $15 billion in 2017, said that by early 2023 there would be a “fleet of autonomous, self-driving robo-taxi vehicles” on the streets of Dubai.

“Dubai is one of the most advanced cities in the world. It is classic territory to launch technologies for smart cities and a natural for deploying autonomous cars,” he added.

Mobileye’s tech provides data for map reading, navigation, traffic and driving conditions in a kit that can be fitted to Habtoor’s fleet, which serves government and public sector transport in Dubai, or can be bought by individual motorists as an add-on package

Al Habtoor said: “This deal will benefit both countries, the UAE and Israel, as well as neighboring countries and Europe.”

Shashua said that while Dubai was a center for growth in the Middle East, he would look to expand into other emirates and countries in the region.

Asked whether Mobileye would like to do business in Saudi Arabia, he said: “We look at things not through a political lens, but from the point of view of areas or territories where we can expand. The only reason we could not expand to Dubai before was the absence of a relationship between Israel and the UAE.

“It is true that Mobileye is owned by Intel, an American company, but still it is very difficult to start sending Israeli engineers in disguise. From a logistic perspective, it is not convenient. I believe there are many more opportunities in the Middle East and, once the ties are made formally, we could expand even further,” he added.

The first phase of the partnership will see 1,000 petrol-engine cars from the Habtoor fleet fitted with Mobileye technology, leading up to trials with a human “safety driver” in early 2022, before a fleet of “smart cars” is launched later that year or early 2023.

The business relationship between Habtoor and Mobileye began before the recent normalization of relations between the UAE and Israel. The Dubai-based company has been among the most enthusiastic advocates of closer business links with Israel, recently signaling it will open a representative office in the Israeli capital.


King Salman Park awards $1bn construction contracts

King Salman Park awards $1bn construction contracts
Image: King Salman Park
Updated 11 sec ago

King Salman Park awards $1bn construction contracts

King Salman Park awards $1bn construction contracts
  • he project, on the grounds of the old airport in Riyadh, aims to create the largest city park in the world
  • The contracts also include infrastructure works and site preparation works for the Royal Complex for Arts

The King Salman Park Foundation has awarded contracts worth SR3.847 billion ($1 billion) to a group of national companies to implement parts of the King Salman Park project, coinciding with the start of construction work, Al Eqtisadiah reported.


These contracts include site preparation works, and the construction of a number of tunnels and bridges on Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq Road and Al Urubah Road. The project, on the grounds of the old airport in Riyadh, aims to create the largest city park in the world.

At 13.4 square kilometers, King Salman Park will be five times larger than London’s Hyde Park and four times larger than Central Park in New York. It aims to become a one-of-a-kind destination, with more than 160 features and attractions covering art, culture, sport and entertainment. Construction is expected to begin in the second half of this year.

The contracts also include infrastructure works and site preparation works for the Royal Complex for Arts.


MEA unit of Virgin Mobile achieves net zero carbon emissions in 2021

MEA unit of Virgin Mobile achieves net zero carbon emissions in 2021
Updated 3 min 50 sec ago

MEA unit of Virgin Mobile achieves net zero carbon emissions in 2021

MEA unit of Virgin Mobile achieves net zero carbon emissions in 2021
  • The telecom company teamed up with Dubai Carbon Center of Excellence to gather data on its operations to calculate its total emissions

DUBAI: Virgin Mobile Middle East and Africa said it has achieved net zero carbon emissions across all its operations in 2021, supported by its ban on single-use plastic in Saudi Arabia. 

The telecom company teamed up with Dubai Carbon Center of Excellence to gather data on its operations to calculate its total emissions. 

Companies in the region are showing increased consciousness about their carbon emissions, inspired by a global movement towards sustainability. Governments in the Gulf are trying to do the same. 

Virgin Mobile previously banned single-use plastic in Oman and Saudi Arabia, eliminating more than 50 tonnes of single-use plastic across the region. 

Other sustainable practices have been implemented in the company’s offices, including policies on business travel, energy use, and environmental awareness for its employees. 


CMA reviews 45 companies awaiting stock market listing

CMA reviews 45 companies awaiting stock market listing
Updated 30 min 35 sec ago

CMA reviews 45 companies awaiting stock market listing

CMA reviews 45 companies awaiting stock market listing
  • The CMA deputy for listed companies & investment products, said the authority wants to expedite applications as part of efforts to support the economy and develop new sectors
  • The CMA highlighted an increase in investors' demand for investment funds, with the number of subscribers rising 12 percent at the end of the first half of 2021

RIYADH: Saudi’s Capital Market Authority (CMA) plans to speed up stock market listings as it revealed around 45 companies are waiting for approval.

In a statement on Tuesday, Abdullah Bin Ghannam, CMA deputy for listed companies & investment products, said the authority wants to expedite applications as part of efforts to support the economy and develop new sectors.

The number of new listings in the Saudi market since the beginning of the year, including traded investment funds, has reached 11, bringing the total number listed to 217, Bin Ghannam said.

The CMA deputy highlighted an increase in investors' demand for investment funds, with the number of subscribers rising 12 percent at the end of the first half of 2021, reaching a record 408,000 investors compared to 364,000 at the end of 2020.


Construction of NEOM's ‘The Line’ will start before the end of 2021, PIF Governor

Construction of NEOM's ‘The Line’ will start before the end of 2021, PIF Governor
Updated 30 min 48 sec ago

Construction of NEOM's ‘The Line’ will start before the end of 2021, PIF Governor

Construction of NEOM's ‘The Line’ will start before the end of 2021, PIF Governor

RIYADH: Construction on NEOM's largest development ‘The Line’ is expected to start by the end of this year, the governor of the Saudi wealth fund said.

The Line — a 170-kilometer, zero-carbon, urban-development project featuring several hyper-connected communities — sparked interest worldwide when it was unveiled earlier this year by the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. 

It is also proving hugely popular among Saudis, who see it as their nation’s most ambitious project to date.

"We're hoping we will finalize all the plans before the end of the year and we will start construction before the end of this year," Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan said in a virtual event hosted by the Future Investment Initiative Institute (FII) on Tuesday.

NEOM's officials announced earlier that there are many areas under development in addition to The Line, such as an industrial city and many resort areas. 

Al-Rumayyan said that some of these areas have advanced in construction ahead of The Line.

"Some parts of the NEOM company have already started with construction. I will give an example. Sandala island which is going to have a lot of resorts and golf courses and other stuff," he added.

NEOM is seeking contractors and investors for the giga project, which is located in northwest of Saudi Arabia, on the Red Sea coast.

About 150 design and construction companies visited NEOM in the last four days, as the Saudi giga-project aims to explore partnership opportunities.

Representatives of global companies visited a 12-square-kilometer logistics park, featuring construction villages with labor communities of up to 30,000 workers, as well as offices, warehouses, and construction service establishments, NEOM said in a statement.

NEOM will be built around sustainability and powered by renewable energy. 

"It’s going to be zero carbon emission, it will have no cars actually. It will be about 170 kilometers, basically a line, and it’s going to be 30 percent more efficient, and when I say efficient I’m talking about the cost efficiency," Al-Rumayyan added.


PIF-owned Amaala awards almost $1bn in contracts 

PIF-owned Amaala awards almost $1bn in contracts 
www.amaala.com
Updated 22 September 2021

PIF-owned Amaala awards almost $1bn in contracts 

PIF-owned Amaala awards almost $1bn in contracts 
  • Around 78 percent of the contracts were awarded to Saudi companies
  • The Amaala project, launched by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), is an ultra-luxury tourist destination on the Red Sea coast

RIYADH: Saudi sovereign fund's Amaala announced that it has awarded more than 230 contracts with a total value of SR3.6 billion ($959.8 million) to local and international companies, Al Eqtisadiah reported.

 Around 78 percent of the contracts were awarded to Saudi companies as part of their commitment to megaprojects Saudi Vision 2030 and contributing to the Saudi economy, the company said in a tweet.

The Amaala project, launched by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), is an ultra-luxury tourist destination on the Red Sea coast with a completely new concept of luxury tourism centered around convalescence, health and treatment.

The PIF announced on Tuesday it is combining its Red Sea Development Co. (TRSDC) and Amaala in a deal where TRDC will be taking over Amaala, as the Kingdom goes ahead with ambitious tourism goals.

"The tourist destinations they are developing will retain “separate, distinct” identities", Chief Executive Officer John Pagano told Arab News on Tuesday.