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NEOM, the visionary smart region taking shape in the northwestern expanse of Saudi Arabia, has unveiled its latest leap into the future on October 25th, 2023. In a resounding declaration of innovation, NEOM proudly announced its strategic investment in REGENT, a renowned American purveyor of electric seagliders. At the heart of this partnership lies the Viceroy, a revolutionary watercraft poised to transform the region’s aquatic transport landscape. Through a multi-year collaboration underpinned by NEOM’s own investment fund program, these two pioneers are set to usher in a new era of sustainable and efficient travel.
The symbiotic alliance between NEOM and REGENT paves the way for a burgeoning seaglider passenger service, facilitating seamless connections to and from NEOM’s urban hubs and breathtaking locales. This ambitious endeavor represents a groundbreaking shift towards eco-conscious, high-speed travel, and promises to redefine the way we navigate these aquatic terrains.
As a testament to their dedication to innovation, REGENT will establish a Middle East Research and Development and Training Hub. This facility will serve as the crucible for cultivating skilled operators and overseeing the infrastructure and operational readiness of the transformative Viceroy seaglider. The horizon beckons for young engineering and tech graduates in Saudi Arabia who will have the opportunity to undergo immersive work placements at REGENT. This collaboration will not only harness their ingenuity but also enable on-site testing, ensuring a seamless launch of this technological marvel by the mid-part of the decade.
THE SEAGLIDER OF TOMORROW IN THE MAKING
At the core of this audacious vision lies REGENT’s pièce de résistance, the Viceroy seaglider. Blending the celerity of an aircraft with the convenience of a boat, this marvel of engineering will exclusively traverse the azure waters. It boasts three distinct modes, adapting to its environment with the grace of an aquatic chameleon: hull, hydrofoil, or ground effect flight. Safely moored on its hull while at the dock, it nimbly surfs the waves on hydrofoils within harbors, and over open waters, it soars just a wingspan above the surface at speeds reaching up to 180 mph (289 kph). With a capacity of 12 passengers, the Viceroy promises to be the gateway to a cornucopia of islands and destinations.
Embracing an environmentally conscious ethos, REGENT’s Viceroy is an emblem of clean energy innovation. It operates at 100 percent electric power, leaving a trail of zero carbon emissions in its wake. Furthermore, it whispers through the water with an astonishing 30-decibel hush, rendering it quieter than traditional aircraft or helicopters. Armed with battery technology that grants an impressive range of up to 160 nautical miles, the Viceroy is poised to revolutionize the concept of sustainable travel.
The vessel’s exterior boasts 12 propellers, ensuring swift and dependable propulsion, with an additional eight redundant electric motors to safeguard against any unforeseen hiccups. Its sleek, pointed deep-V hull guarantees secure landings even in less-than-ideal sea conditions, and the hydrofoils endow it with remarkable agility in port areas, ensuring passengers experience unparalleled convenience.
The Viceroy aspires to set sail, or rather glide, into service by 2025. With full-scale prototypes for human flight trials anticipated for 2024, this timeline is perfectly aligned with NEOM’s scheduled opening in the same year. As preparations surge ahead, REGENT is committed to rigorous testing within the confines of NEOM, diligently ensuring that this innovative marvel is primed for operational deployment by the midpoint of the decade.
In the grand tapestry of NEOM’s bold ambitions, the Viceroy seaglider represents a transformative stroke, and it’s a melody that harmonizes sustainability, technology, and progress on the waterways of tomorrow. As NEOM redefines the boundaries of smart, eco-friendly living, the Viceroy is set to redefine the art of aquatic travel, ushering in a new era where the waters themselves are the highways of tomorrow.
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