A significant portion of these investments will be on next-generation “smart mobility”, which could take the form of self-driving vehicles, and even those of the flying kind.
“The RTA (Roads and Transport Authority) in Dubai has successfully tested driverless shuttles as well as pilotless flying taxis, whose deployment is expected to contribute to making 25 per cent of trips in the city driverless by 2030,” said Mark Haddad, Principal at the consultancy Strategy&, part of the PwC network.
Then there is the “hyperloop” option, which could in future – if all the plans slot into place – could deliver passengers and freight to their destinations in a matter of minutes rather than hours. (A Dubai-Abu Dhabi trip could be done in 12 minutes – at least that’s the promise offered by hyperloop, which essentially uses low pressure air tubes to ferry pods over vast distances at eye-popping speeds.)
“Gulf states are positioning themselves at the forefront of the mass transit revolution through their interest in the hyperloop,” said Haddad. “This is evident from several strategic partnerships between hyperloop companies and Gulf states to encourage research and the rapid commercialization of this technology.
“Virgin Hyperloop has a strategic partnership with the Economic Cities Authority of Saudi Arabia to study and build the longest test and certification hyperloop track (35 kilometres) as well as an R&D centre and manufacturing facility. Hyperloop One has an agreement with RTA to evaluate the feasibility of a link between Dubai and Abu Dhabi.