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UAMs can help make the Hajj safer and smoother

The air taxi in demonstration. (Image source: Front End)

Front End, a leader in integrating advanced technology across sectors, demonstrated the first unmanned air taxi trial in Mecca, supported by its partner, EHang, an urban air mobility (UAM) technology platform company.

The annual Hajj pilgrimage, which brings together diverse nationalities, presents unique logistical challenges. This innovative demonstration streamlined transportation during the sacred event, enabling faster movement of pilgrims between key locations and ensuring a smoother and safer Hajj experience.

Front End’s dedication to introducing cutting-edge technology to the kingdom, combined with EHang’s expertise in urban air mobility, and the leadership of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), in collaboration with the Ministry of Transport and Logistics Services, the Ministry of Hajj, and the Ministry of Interior, marked a significant step towards a faster, more efficient, and sustainable Hajj. This collaboration revealed an innovative solution, highlighting the remarkable potential of government-private partnerships in advancing technology in Saudi Arabia.

His Excellency Abdulaziz Al-Duailej, president of GACA said, “The trial marks a major advancement in integrating Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) solutions into Saudi Arabia’s aviation landscape. We are committed to the highest safety standards and seamless integration into existing air traffic systems. This trial acts as a proof of concept for multiple use cases and contributes to various AAM roadmap initiatives. We appreciate the instrumental support of Front End and EHang to mark this historic milestone for Saudi Arabia."

Majid Alghaslan, chairman and CEO of Front End Limited Company, said, “Front End is at the forefront of this trailblazing trial, paving the way to a new era in smart mobility solutions, potentially revolutionising Hajj transportation. Aligned with Saudi Vision 2030, our purpose is to foster a ‘Connected Kingdom,’ serving as a gateway for our partners to access growth opportunities in Saudi Arabia and the wider region. This achievement stands as a testament to the power of government-private partnerships in accelerating new technology adoption. Partnering with EHang made this pioneering solution a reality.”

Conducted in a low-risk area within protected airspace, the trial helped assist authorities in setting the right regulatory environment for the deployment of eVTOL aircraft which will redefine the Hajj experience by enhancing mobility, reducing congestion, and promoting sustainability.

“These eco-friendly marvels offer a cost-effective solution for urban transportation, tackling congestion while aligning perfectly with the Kingdom’s goals for a sustainable future. This advancement underscores Front End's dedication to national progress and its commitment to shaping a greener, more efficient tomorrow in mobility”, Majid added.

Mr. Huazhi Hu, founder, CEO, and chairman of EHang, stated, “This debut flight of the EH216-S pilotless eVTOL in Saudi Arabia marks a significant milestone in EHang's ongoing internationalisation and an important step forward in propelling global advanced UAM reform, showcasing the potential of our pilotless eVTOL products and solutions for widespread adoption in the Middle Eastern market. Looking ahead, with the strong support of GACA and in partnership with Front End, we will work together to establish a benchmark for regular AAM operations in Saudi Arabia, driving progress in both regional and global AAM markets."