NEOM has partnered with US electric sea glider manufacturer REGENT with the goal of helping NEOM become a carbon-free community and achieve sustainable transportation with amazing sea gliders that combine aircraft speed with boat-like convenience.
This investment, facilitated through the NEOM Investment Fund (NIF), demonstrates NEOM’s commitment to pioneering sustainable and integrated mobility systems while marking a significant step towards Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.
As part of a multi-year partnership to spearhead the evolution of water mobility in the region, NEOM has become the largest single contributor in REGENT’s Series A funding round. This investment will aid REGENT in propelling its cutting-edge seaglider technology to the next level.
With the announcement of the formation of the NEOM Investment Fund (NIF) today, we are thrilled to announce NIF's massive participation in our recently closed Series A to help expedite the development of our #seagliders. pic.twitter.com/VEEyj41VVk— REGENT (@regentcraft) October 24, 2023
Majid Mufti, CEO of NIF, underscored NEOM’s commitment to fostering a future-ready technological landscape that accelerates human progress.
He stated, “This investment in Regent aligns with NEOM’s goals of creating a test bed for future technology in line with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030. These innovative, electric seagliders will contribute to our progress towards zero carbon operations.”
The Future of Electric Seagliders
The seagliders, Terry Wong, Executive Director of Land Mobility, NEOM noted, are a pivotal aspect of NEOM Mobility’s vision to build a truly sustainable, shared, safe, and seamless multi-modal transport system.
Wong added, “They [seagliders] will provide a fresh approach to coastal transportation in NEOM, connecting key destinations along 468 kilometers of coastline, and reflect our belief in zero-carbon technologies and the growth of new industries and skills within the Kingdom.”
Part of the strategic partnership entails a commitment by REGENT to establish a Middle East R&D and Training Hub. This hub aims to bolster seaglider enablement, infrastructure, and operational readiness.
From 2024 onwards, young Saudi engineering and tech graduates working for NEOM will have the chance to experience work placements at REGENT and gain invaluable insights into its innovative technology.
Testing and Collaboration
REGENT will also conduct on-site testing throughout the mid-decade to ensure readiness for operational roll-out.
Billy Thalheimer, Co-Founder and CEO of REGENT, shared his excitement about the partnership, stating, “REGENT and NEOM are focused on collaboratively solving operational details through this strategic investment and collaboration.
NEOM’s goal of building a carbon-free community through revolutionary design aligns with our mission to build sustainable connections using seagliders.”
Regent’s seagliders combine the high-speed capabilities of aircraft with the convenience of boats. They are designed to float on a hull at the dock, travel on wave-tolerant hydrofoils in harbors, and fly close to the surface over open water at impressive speeds of up to 180mph (289 kph).
REGENT’s flagship seaglider, the 12-passenger Viceroy, is set to provide a unique customer experience.
The planned VIP Viceroy electric seaglider is set to offer a unique, luxurious experience, featuring optional lie-flat seating and Wi-Fi in a standup cabin. It boasts zero carbon emissions, making it 100% electric, and operates 30 decibels quieter than an aircraft or helicopter.
With battery technology that can offer up to 160 nautical miles of range, the Viceroy is sustainable and efficient. The Viceroy’s deep-V hull facilitates safe landing in various sea states, while its hydrofoils allow for high port maneuverability.
A Revolutionary Approach
REGENT plans to commence full-scale prototypes for human flight trials by 2024 to enter service by 2025. This timeline aligns with NEOM’s scheduled opening, promising a revolutionary approach to regional water transport.
Setting a Precedent
As NEOM continues to drive towards its ambitious goals aligned with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, such partnerships are integral to shaping a sustainable and integrated mobility system in the region.
Through pioneering technology and shared vision, NEOM and REGENT are charting an exciting course toward a greener, more connected future.