App-solutely terrific: Citizens can use private cars as taxis

Updated 27 July 2016

App-solutely terrific: Citizens can use private cars as taxis

RIYADH: The Ministry of Transport has decided to allow citizens to use their private cars for transporting people.
The step comes in line with the ministry’s plan to organize and develop the transport sector through the use of latest technology, the ministry said.
Once implemented, the plan will help ease the problems of commuters and provide job opportunities to citizens — a field currently dominated by foreign workers.
It will also minimize security concerns as citizens will be dominating the field, the ministry said.
Job seekers including university students, government and private sector employees will benefit from the new plan, the ministry added.
The government will give priority to Saudis seeking jobs especially those registered with the “Jadara” and “Saed” systems.
The ministry is working on a plan to create a mechanism to match the applications with the requirements of citizens who desire to work in this field.
The ministry wants these services to be linked to the Wasel electronic platform, which has been launched by the ministry in cooperation with its technical partner “Alam.”
The platform will allow the ministry and the security authorities to identity the drivers, the data of the vehicle and its destination.
The ministry has appealed to all firms providing transport services through these applications to correct their status in accordance with the new regulations within three months.
Meanwhile, the ministry and the Public Transport Authority are making an overall assessment of the current taxi services to lay down a new vision for new services in line with Vision 2030, the ministry said.


Startup of the Week: Revolutionary solutions for Saudi Arabia’s clean energy sector

Updated 2 min 48 sec ago

Startup of the Week: Revolutionary solutions for Saudi Arabia’s clean energy sector

  • The NOMADD robots are equipped with specially designed brushes with drive motors and sophisticated control systems

JEDDAH: NOMADD is a King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) startup that aspires to contribute to the growing clean energy sector with its leading photovoltaics cleaning system based in Saudi Arabia.
According to Georg Eitelhuber, chief technical officer and cofounder of NOMADD, the company will enable more widespread use of solar photovoltaics in the country while conserving water resources and utilizing the full potential of solar energy.
NOMADD is a system designed, developed and tested in the Kingdom to suit local and regional conditions. “Wherever there is sun and wherever there is a desert, that is where NOMADD is and wills to be,” Eitelhuber told Arab News.
In desert climates, solar panels are often exposed to harsh weather conditions that may affect their function and require constant maintenance.
According to Eitelhuber, dust can prevent sunlight from reaching solar cells. Consequently, the panel may lose up to 60 percent of its capability to produce power during and after sandstorms.
Therefore, panels should be cleaned daily because if the dust is left for more than a day, dust particles from organics, dew, and sulfur adhere to the panels and damage them.
After extensive research, NOMADD founders concluded whatever they created to clean solar panels needed to be a waterless, automatic mechanical device. From those characteristics, they came up with the name NOMADD, which stands for: NO water, Mechanical Automated Dusting Device.
The name is also a tribute to nomadic peoples living in the desert. “In this part of the world, the very harsh environment makes moving through the desert constantly and regularly not easy, and the people who were able to do that for thousands of years are extremely tough. We believe that our product is part of that spirit of toughness in the desert,” said Eitelhuber.
The first idea of NOMADD goes back to 2010. “I was out in the field where they had a small solar area back then, and there was an official inauguration for this solar field … the panels were so dirty so we called the housekeeping department to come and clean them.”
Solar energy was still new in the region at that time. Eitelhuber found that no accurate solution had ever been thought about before. “I had the vision that there will be a large scale of solar panels in the Middle East, and it would be great to have a solution ready for it,” he said.
The NOMADD robots are equipped with specially designed brushes with drive motors and sophisticated control systems. The robots communicate wirelessly with a central hub that can be accessed from anywhere in the world, via any mobile device, which allows the client to monitor the robots and collect and analyze data.
NOMADD has six founders, and 15 people working full time for them worldwide, eight based at KAUST. The team is growing fast, and they hope to have 20 to 25 people by the end of the year.
Reliability of the product is everything for NOMADD’s team. Constant evaluation of the quality and expansion of the service is key to their success. Their biggest goal is to be recognized as the world’s leader in desert solar cleaning solutions.