NEOM, the smart and sustainable regional development in northwest Saudi Arabia, on Wednesday announced, through the NEOM Investment Fund (NIF), that it has closed an investment into REGENT, the US-based electric seaglider manufacturer.
The investment positions NEOM as the largest single contributor in REGENT’s Series A round, enabling the company to take its technology to the next stage. NEOM’s investment is part of a multi-year partnership with REGENT to establish innovative seaglider passenger operations in the region.
Majid Mufti, CEO of NIF said that they were pleased to invest in REGENT, which underscores NEOM’s commitment to creating a test bed for future technology that accelerates human progress.
“We have worked closely with NEOM’s mobility sector to identify exciting opportunities, such as this, which can further NEOM’s goals in line with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030. These innovative, electric seagliders will contribute to our progress towards zero carbon operations,” he said.
Terry Wong, Executive Director Land Mobility, NEOM said that 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.
“They will provide a fresh approach to coastal transportation in NEOM, both passenger and freight, connecting key destinations along 468 km of coastline, and reflect our belief in zero-carbon technologies, and the growth of new industries and skills within the Kingdom,” Wong added.
The partnership includes a commitment by REGENT to establish a Middle East R&D and Training Hub to support seaglider enablement as well as infrastructure and operational readiness.
From 2024 onwards, young Saudi engineering and tech graduates working for NEOM will have the opportunity for work placements at REGENT and learn more about its innovative technology. REGENT will also conduct on-site testing to be ready for operational roll-out by the mid part of the decade.
Billy Thalheimer, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, REGENT, said that REGENT and NEOM are focused on collaboratively solving operational details through this strategic investment and partnership. NEOM’s goal to build a carbon-free community through revolutionary design is strongly aligned with our mission to build sustainable connections using seagliders.
Seagliders combine the speed of an aircraft with the convenience of a boat. They float on a hull at the dock, travel on wave tolerant hydrofoils in harbours, and fly within one wingspan of the surface over open water at speeds up to 289 km per hour REGENT’s flagship seaglider, the 12-passenger Viceroy, will offer a one-of-a-kind customer experience and comfort.
Investment in Poni.ai
NEOM, the smart and sustainable regional development in northwest Saudi Arabia, has also said that it has invested $100 million, through the NEOM Investment Fund (NIF), into Pony.ai, a leading global autonomous driving company. Additionally, a joint venture will be established for autonomous technology solutions for the region.
Through the joint venture, NEOM and Pony.ai will develop, manufacture, and deliver autonomous driving services, advanced vehicles, and smart vehicle infrastructure in NEOM and key markets in MENA.
The far-reaching and industry-transforming joint venture will include a local state-of-the-art autonomous vehicle manufacturing and R&D facility. NEOM is an ideal strategic industrial location for the development of Pony.ai’s autonomous vehicle technology within the region.