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February 12, 2024
Flying taxi company Joby Aviation and the Dubai Road and Transport Authority agreed to launch an air taxi service in Dubai, the latest in a series of deals to bring electric aerial vehicles (EAV) to the Middle East in a big way.
While the Joby deal gives the EAV maker exclusive rights to operate flying taxis in Dubai for six years, there are other Mideast ventures to bring other flying vehicles to the United Arab Emirates region.
For example, Archer Aviation and Air Chateau International recently signed a memorandum of understanding for the private aviation operator to purchase EAVs to be operated in the UAE.
That deal calls for Archer to sell 100 of its flying vehicles in a deal valued at $500 million.
The deal, signed at the Dubai Air Show, included a non-refundable deposit of $1 million with the investment group Acorn Capital as the financial transaction partner.
In addition to U.S. EAV developers creating operations in the UAE, a Chinese flying vehicle developer also is involved.
EHang Holdings in China, the only EAV maker certified for passenger carrying vehicle operations, has signed a long-term strategic partnership with Wings Logistics Hub to introduce EHang's autonomous EAV to the UAE.
Wings Logistics Hub plans to purchase up to 100 units of the EH216 series EAV from EHang.
An EAV maker in Germany also is involved in selling EAVs into the region.
The developer of an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) jet is selling 10 of its air taxi jets to a company for sales in the Middle East.
Lilium recently announced that ArcosJet DMCC is purchasing 10 of its electric jets and will become the exclusive dealer for its private jets in the region.
Another 100 Lilium electric jets are planned for Saudi Arabia.
Saudia, the national flag carrier of Saudi Arabia, and Lilium signed a memorandum of understanding for Saudia to develop and operate an eVTOL network across Saudi Arabia.
This would make Saudia the first airline in the region to purchase 100 Lilium jets with annual support services.
While electric aerial vehicles are being developed around the world, the Middle East has emerged as the leading location globally for the initial growth of the advanced air mobility (AAM) industry.
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Editorial Director AI & IoT
Chuck Martin, a New York Times Business Bestselling author, futurist and columnist, is Editorial Director at Informa Tech, home of AI Business, IoT World Today and Enter Quantum. Martin has been a leader in emerging digital technologies for more than two decades. He is considered one of the foremost emerging technology experts in the world and his latest book is titled "Flying Vehicles" (The Emergence of Personal Air Travel, Flying Cars, and Air Taxis). He also is the author of "Digital Transformation 3.0" (The New Business-to-Consumer Connections of The Internet of Things). He hosts a worldwide podcast titled “The Voices of the Internet of Things with Chuck Martin,” where he converses with top executives from the companies driving the adoption of emerging technology.
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