RIYADH: NEOM has signed an investment deal with US-based electric seaglider manufacturer REGENT to improve its transport offerings.
Seagliders combine the speed of an aircraft with the convenience of a boat, offering a sustainable and innovative transport option in the Kingdom.
The deal between NEOM and REGENT highlights the gigaproject’s efforts to build a sustainable, shared and seamlessly integrated mobility system.
Through its strategic arm, the NEOM Investment Fund, NEOM said in a press release that the agreement is part of a longstanding partnership with REGENT. It aims to strengthen NEOM’s capabilities in sustainable water mobility, providing passengers with state-of-the-art water transport services in the region.
REGENT has committed to establishing a Middle East research and development and training hub as part of the agreement. Young Saudi engineers and tech graduates employed by NEOM will handle cutting-edge technology through work placements starting in 2024.
NEOM Investment Fund CEO Majid Mufti said in the statement: “We have worked closely with NEOM’s mobility sector to identify exciting opportunities, such as this, which can further NEOM’s goals in line with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.
“These innovative, electric seagliders will contribute to our progress toward zero-carbon operations.”
The executive director of land mobility at NEOM, Terry Wong, said: “Seagliders are an innovative component of NEOM Mobility’s aim to build the world’s first truly sustainable, shared, safe and seamless multi-modal transport system.”
He added that the seagliders will connect “key destinations along 468 km of coastline, and reflect our belief in zero-carbon technologies, and the growth of new industries and skills within the Kingdom.”
The co-founder and CEO of REGENT, Billy Thalheimer, said: “NEOM’s goal to build a carbon-free community through revolutionary design is strongly aligned with our mission to build sustainable connections using seagliders.”
The vehicles float on a hull at the dock, travel on wave-tolerant hydrofoils in harbors, and fly within one wingspan of the surface over open water at speeds up to 289 km per hour.
REGENT’s flagship seaglider is the 12-passenger Viceroy.