Thursday, July 25, 2024

Saudi Arabia Launches World’s First Self-Driving Flying Taxi to Transport Hajj Pilgrims

On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia began testing a driverless air taxi to transport pilgrims between holy sites during the Haj season. This marks the first time an air taxi has been licensed by a civil aviation authority worldwide, according to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

The air taxis will serve multiple purposes. They will shuttle Haj pilgrims, facilitate emergency travel, and transport medical equipment and goods. The trial was initiated by Saleh Al Jasser, the Minister of Transport and Logistics Services.

Originally announced in January, the plan involves Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) operating these innovative aircraft. They aim to carry 4-6 passengers at a time between King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah and various hotels in Makkah.

This initiative is part of a broader effort to enhance the transportation experience for Haj pilgrims, making travel between key locations quicker and more efficient. The driverless air taxis are expected to significantly reduce travel time and alleviate congestion on the ground.

The introduction of these air taxis also represents a significant technological advancement in Saudi Arabia’s transport sector. It aligns with the country’s Vision 2030 plan to diversify its economy and reduce dependence on oil by investing in various sectors, including transportation and technology.

As the trial progresses, it will provide valuable insights into the feasibility and efficiency of using driverless air taxis for large-scale public transportation. If successful, this could pave the way for broader implementation of similar technologies in other parts of the world, revolutionizing the future of urban mobility.

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