Saudi Arabia’s upcoming $500 billion futuristic city NEOM has made a new development in advancing its sustainable transportation goals by announcing a substantial investment in the US-based electric seaglider manufacturer, REGENT.
This move establishes NEOM as the foremost contributor in REGENT’s Series A funding round.
“We’re pleased to make this investment in REGENT, which underscores NEOM’s commitment to creating a test bed for future technology that accelerates human progress,” Majid Mufti, CEO of NEOM Investment Fund (NIF) said, highlighting NEOM’s commitment to propelling forward future technology for the betterment of humanity.
In addition, Mufti underlined the collaboration’s alignment with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, a crucial aspect of the kingdom’s forward-looking agenda.
He further said that these electric seagliders would play a pivotal role in reducing carbon emissions and advancing their efforts towards zero-carbon operations.
“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,” Terry Wong, Executive Director Land Mobility at NEOM said discussing the nature of seagliders within NEOM Mobility’s larger mission.
Wong revealed that these seagliders would transform coastal transportation in NEOM, offering a more sustainable approach for both passengers and freight.
Moreover, Wong highlighted NEOM’s belief in zero-carbon technologies and the growth of new industries and skills within the kingdom.
The partnership with REGENT extends beyond investment, as it includes a commitment to establish a Middle East Research and Development (R&D) and Training Hub, aimed at fostering seaglider technology and operational readiness.
Additionally, young Saudi engineering and tech graduates working with NEOM will have the opportunity for work placements at REGENT starting from 2024, facilitating knowledge exchange and skill development.
REGENT will also conduct on-site testing to ensure the operational readiness of their seagliders by the mid-2020s.
“REGENT and NEOM are focused on collaboratively solving operational details through this strategic investment and partnership,” Billy Thalheimer, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of REGENT said highlighting the shared commitment to building sustainable connections through seagliders.
Seagliders are known for their unique combination of aircraft speed and boat-like convenience.
They operate on wave-tolerant hydrofoils in harbors and can achieve speeds of up to 180mph (289 kph) over open water, flying just one wingspan above the surface.
The company’s flagship seaglider, the 12-passenger Viceroy, is set to offer an exceptional customer experience, marking a significant milestone in the future of sustainable transportation.