Air and Sea

Abu Dhabi signs key driverless transport deals at DriftX conference

Among the deals was an agreement with Joby Aviation to offer flying taxi services between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, expected to start as early as next year

Badr Al-Olama, Director General of ADIO, at the signing of a framework agreement with Archer Aviation. (Photo: Abu Dhabi Media Office)

Abu Dhabi has signed a flurry of deals with American companies as it aims to provide autonomous transportation options throughout the UAE.

At the inaugural two-day DriftX conference now underway on Yas Island, Archer Aviation, a U.S. developer of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, signed a framework agreement for “multi-hundred-million dollars” with the Abu Dhabi Investment Office, setting a target date to start air taxi operations in 2025.

ADIO also signed an agreement with Archer competitor Joby Aviation to offer flying taxi services between Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

The agreement builds on a deal the California company has made with the Dubai aviation regulator for exclusive rights to operate air taxi services in Dubai.

Joby expects to start services as early as next year after its infrastructure partner landed $125 million in investment this month.

Meanwhile, Boston-based Regent Craft signed agreements with ADIO and the Department of Transport for the trial use of electric seagliders that can carry passengers between Dubai and Abu Dhabi in 25 minutes, less than half the time by car.

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