NEOM, the dubbed smart region being developed in Northwest Saudi Arabia, announced on October 25th, 2023, that it had invested in REGENT, the US-based electric seaglider manufacturer whose 12-passenger water vehicle named Viceroy is set to become the region’s water transport. NEOM and REGENT closed a multi-year partnership deal to establish seaglider passenger operations in the region, taking visitors to and from the cities and places in NEOM. The collaboration was made possible through NEOM’s own investment fund program.
The electric seaglider that is being developed for NEOM is none other than REGENT’s flagship water vehicle, Viceroy. Dubbed a seaglider for combining the speed of an aircraft with the convenience of a boat, the vehicle is expected to operate exclusively over water, gliding in the sea in one of its three modes: hull, hydrofoil, or flight on ground effect. It floats on a hull at the dock, travels on wave-tolerant hydrofoils in harbors, and flies within one wingspan of the surface over open water at speeds up to 180 mph or 289 kph, all the while transporting its 12 passengers on board to and from islands and places.
REGENT’s electric seaglider Viceroy plans to enter service by 2025 and to start full-scale prototypes for human flight trials by 2024. This timeline may be in time for NEOM’s scheduled opening by 2024, and, as mentioned, REGENT will also conduct testing on NEOM to ensure it will be ready for operational roll-out by the mid-part of the decade.
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