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A world first: autonomous air taxi operations launch in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA) reports it has inaugurated “the self-driving air taxi experience for the first time during Hajj season.”

According to the Saudi Press Agency: Minister of Transport and Logistics Services and Chairman of the Board of Directors of General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) Eng. Saleh Al-Jasser launched the self-driving air taxi trial today at the holy sites, a press release from the Transport General Authority said. This inaugural trial, witnessed by GACA President Abdulaziz Al-Duailej, involved the vertical take-off of the electric air taxi.

The eVTOL pictured is an EHang EH216 autonomous air vehicle.

“It is the “world’s first air taxi to be licensed by a civil aviation authority”, the release said.

“The air taxi services entail transporting pilgrims between the holy sites, facilitating emergency travel, transporting medical equipment, and providing logistical services for the transportation of goods.“

Al-Jasser stressed that this initiative is part of the ministry’s endeavor to adopt cutting-edge transportation technologies and environment-friendly transportation models powered by artificial intelligence. These innovations support the sustainability of the modern transportation sector and align with the objectives of the National Transport and Logistics Strategy, in line with Saudi Vision 2030, according to the release.

“Al-Duailej said: “Today marks the activation of one of the most important initiatives of the roadmap for enabling advanced air mobility. The use of its modes, including the air taxi, reduces passenger travel time in congested areas, particularly in emergencies, facilitates the transportation of goods and medical supplies, and speeds up surveillance and inspection tasks through drones.”

For more information

ht https://www.spa.gov.sa/en/N2121188tps://gaca.gov.sa/web/en-gb/news/12-june-2024


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