Saudi Arabia inaugurates self-driving aerial taxi during Hajj

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The flying taxi, launched in Saudi Arabia, is the world’s first to be licensed by a civil aviation authority. (SPA)
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The flying taxi, launched in Saudi Arabia, is the world’s first to be licensed by a civil aviation authority. (SPA)
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Updated 12 June 2024
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Saudi Arabia inaugurates self-driving aerial taxi during Hajj

  • The electric flying taxi will transport pilgrims across holy sites, facilitate the swift transfer of medical emergencies and supplies, as well as deliver goods

MAKKAH: Saudi Arabia has inaugurated a pioneering self-driving aerial taxi service for pilgrims during this year’s Hajj season.

The electric flying taxi will transport pilgrims across holy sites, facilitate the swift transfer of medical emergencies and supplies, as well as deliver goods, state news agency SPA reported.
Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser, Saudi Minister of Transport and Logistic Services, said the flying taxi is the world’s first to be licensed by a civil aviation authority.
On Wednesday, Al-Jasser witnessed the vertical takeoff of the autonomous vehicle during the launch event attended by Abdulaziz Al-Duailej, president of General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA); Rumaih Al-Rumaih, Deputy Minister of Transport and Logistics Services, and several representatives of related entities.
The minister said the inauguration of the air taxi was part of the efforts to apply the latest future transport technologies and adopt innovative environment-friendly transport models that use artificial intelligence applications.
In line with the objectives of the National Transport and Logistics Strategy, the Kingdom aims to modernize the transport sector through the launch of air taxi technologies, electric cars and hydrogen trains.
Al-Jasser said the ministry is working to enhance smart mobility and develop legislation, laws, and systems that enable the employment of modern technologies.
It also seeks to provide experimental environments to facilitate the expansion of future transport technologies.
GACA’s Al-Duailej said the flying taxi was one of the most significant initiatives of the advanced air mobility roadmap, which aims to reduce passenger travel time within congested areas, especially during emergencies, facilitate the transportation of goods and medical supplies, and complete surveillance and inspection tasks in a speedy manner.
The aerial taxi is among 32 modern technologies applied to serve pilgrims during this year’s Hajj.


Saudi Arabia condemns attempt on life of Donald Trump

Updated 14 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia condemns attempt on life of Donald Trump

RIYADH: The Kingdom expressed on Sunday its condemnation and denunciation of the attempt to attack the life of the former President of the United States of America, Donald Trump. 

More to follow...


Weqaa identifies the most invasive plants found in the Kingdom

Updated 14 July 2024
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Weqaa identifies the most invasive plants found in the Kingdom

  • Project part of Integrated Pest Management scheme, one of National Transformation Program initiatives

RIYADH: Weqaa, the National Center for the Prevention and Control of Plant Pests and Animal Diseases, recently identified the most invasive plant types discovered in the Kingdom, the Saudi Press Agency reported

The invasive plants identified by the technical team were the prickly pear; two types of Austrocylindropuntia — Hudson pear cactus and Eve’s needle cactus; mesquite (Prosopis); tree tobacco; parthenium; lantanas; two types of argemone; sweet rush plant; and two types of reeds — the common reed and the giant reed.

Weqaa’s CEO Ayman bin Saad Al-Ghamdi said: “This success is the result of the tireless efforts and field visits carried out by the project’s team in various regions of the Kingdom to identify the most important invasive plants and their proliferation location.”

“The Kingdom’s identification and control of invasive plants project is currently working on a new experiment to control the spreading of the opuntia cylindrica and tree tobacco,” Al-Ghamdi said.

He also pointed out that the identification and diagnosis of invasive plants is being studied in cooperation with experts from the Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International, and that they are relying on the results of the plants’ identification to create Weqaa’s unique atlas.

Al-Ghamdi underlined the importance of the phytosanitary (plant health) sector in ensuring the monitoring and control of plant pests and crop diseases, applying good agricultural practices, and protecting the flora and biodiversity from pests through the implementation of all the available technical, administrative, legal and logistical measures.

The aforementioned project is part of the Integrated Pest Management scheme, one of the National Transformation Program initiatives aimed at controlling agricultural pests and invasive plants as well as protecting plant production.

The project is implemented in cooperation with the National Center for Vegetation Development and Combating Desertification to ensure the health of plants and crops, namely cultivated plants, to promote economic development and achieve the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 goals.


Eastern Municipality signs 6,000 development investment contracts

Updated 14 July 2024
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Eastern Municipality signs 6,000 development investment contracts

  • According to SPA, this will contribute to the creation of tens of thousands of job opportunities and support economic growth and development in the area

DAMMAM: The Eastern Province Municipality has recently confirmed more than 6,000 contracts in the field of investments and revenue development in the cities and governorates of the province, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

According to SPA, this will contribute to the creation of tens of thousands of job opportunities and support economic growth and development in the area.

The municipality said that the contracts were signed in cooperation with the Eastern Province Development Authority. It also stated that Prince Saud bin Nayef, governor of the Eastern Province, launched 18 development and investment projects at the beginning of this year, with a total cost of SR14 billion ($3.733 billion) to support the quality of life in the province.

This includes improving services and city economies by making a digital and qualitative leap in the number of projects and quality investment services through launching a large and diverse range of projects, contracts, agreements, investment opportunities and developments in various cities and governorates of the region, according to SPA.

The municipality said that Dammam city has obtained most of the projects, contracts, opportunities and investment agreements. These include investment in King Abdullah Cultural Hall, Dammam Corniche development, Al Marjan Island marine activities project, collaboration with Saudi Entertainment Ventures (Seven) of the Public Investment Fund, an opportunity to invest in naming and sponsorship rights for the Dammam Corniche, infrastructure development projects, industrial and service plans, landfills and recycling factories in partnership with the Saudi Investment Recycling Company affiliated with the PIF.

Additionally, there are projects in resorts, transport, sea taxis, ports and marinas to connect cities and governorates in the Eastern Province. These projects are expected to bring about a significant improvement in entertainment services, tourism, marine activities, infrastructure, environmental safety and industry, ultimately enhancing the quality of life.


Saudi crown prince receives message from Emir of Qatar

Updated 14 July 2024
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Saudi crown prince receives message from Emir of Qatar

RIYADH: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Sunday received a letter from the Emir of Qatar, relating to relations between the two brotherly countries, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The message was received on behalf of foreign minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan by deputy minister Waleed Al-Khuraiji during a reception in Riyadh with the Qatari ambassador to the Kingdom Bandar Mohammed Al-Attiyah.

During the reception, they reviewed ties between Saudi Arabia and Qatar and ways to enhance them in various fields, in addition to discussing topics of common interest, SPA added.


Saudi FM received by Erdogan during visit to Istanbul to discuss Saudi-Turkish ties

Updated 14 July 2024
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Saudi FM received by Erdogan during visit to Istanbul to discuss Saudi-Turkish ties

  • The also spoke about regional developments and efforts to ensure stability in the region

RIYADH: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan was received by Turkish President Recep Erdogan in Istanbul on Sunday on an official visit aimed at strengthening bilateral relations between Saudi Arabia and Turkey, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The also spoke about regional developments and efforts to ensure stability in the region.

The meeting between Prince Faisal and the Turkish president was also attended by Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Political Affairs, Saud Al-Sati, and Saudi ambassador to Turkiye Fahad Abu Al-Nasr.

During the visit, the minister will also discuss with officials regional and international developments of common interest, SPA added.

Prince Faisal was received on his arrival at Ataturk International Airport by the Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Noah Yilmaz.