Abu Dhabi's Smart Transport Cluster Sparks a New Era in Mobility Solutions
Abu Dhabi is making strides in its industrial sector development, job creation, and economic diversification by attracting three prominent companies to the newly established Smart and Autonomous Vehicles Industry (Savi) cluster in Masdar City.
Joby Aviation, a California-based electric aircraft manufacturer, WeRide, a Chinese autonomous vehicle startup, and Marakeb Technologies, a UAE-based unmanned maritime systems company, are among the cluster's first members.
Marakeb Technologies, in particular, will pioneer maritime applications at Savi, conducting trials at the sea testing zone in Mussafah Port.
According to Badr Al-Olama, acting director general of Abu Dhabi Investment Office (Adio), the Savi cluster represents the next phase of Abu Dhabi's industrial development, promising significant advancements in autonomy across air, land, and sea.
"The addition of companies like Marakeb will also be a catalyst for the growth of related industries, both within and beyond the cluster, boosting the local industrial base and knowledge economy.”
In a groundbreaking development announced on October 13th by the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, the newly-established Savi cluster is set to revolutionize the UAE's economy.
The cluster's primary objective is to pioneer the creation of cutting-edge smart and autonomous vehicles designed for deployment across the air, land, and sea.
Official sources have revealed that the Savi cluster is anticipated to inject a substantial economic boost, estimated to range between Dh90 billion to Dh120 billion (equivalent to $24.5 billion to $32.7 billion) into the UAE's financial landscape.
Moreover, this ambitious initiative is poised to generate an impressive tally of up to 50,000 job opportunities, significantly augmenting employment prospects within the UAE.
This strategic move is emblematic of the UAE's steadfast commitment to fortify its industrial sector's role in bolstering the nation's gross domestic product.
The project aims to lead the charge in pioneering advanced manufacturing technologies, thereby ensuring that smart mobility takes center stage in the mainstream market. Concurrently, the initiative is geared towards the development of sustainable transportation systems, underpinning the UAE's broader vision for the future.
To catalyze these transformative goals, local enterprise Marakeb has stepped forward to play a pivotal role.Basel Shuhaiber, the Chief Executive of Marakeb, underscored the company's role as a key contributor to the cluster's growth. He stated, "As a local company, Marakeb will support the development and growth of the cluster by providing its autonomous solutions and technical knowledge to enable the next generation of smart vehicle solutions."
WeRide, a company currently conducting trials of autonomous vehicles in the UAE, has ambitious plans for rapid expansion within the nation.
In a significant milestone, WeRide was granted the UAE's inaugural preliminary license for operating self-driving cars.
This license empowers the company to conduct trials of a wide range of autonomous vehicles, including robotaxis, robobuses, robovans, and robosweepers, throughout the country.
Joby Aviation, a leading U.S.-based company specializing in the development of electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for commercial passenger transportation, is set to expand its operations to the Savi region, according to Adio, the Abu Dhabi Investment Office.
This strategic move comes as Joby Aviation prepares to launch its commercial passenger services utilizing piloted five-seat eVTOL aircraft by the year 2025.
The company's plans for the Savi region involve the establishment of a presence within the burgeoning technology hub, with a particular focus on developing the capabilities required for autonomous flight of its aircraft in the near future, as revealed by Adio.
To facilitate this expansion and bolster Joby Aviation's efforts in the region, Adio has committed to providing support by leveraging its network to connect the company with relevant partners throughout the emirate.
With the Savi cluster on the horizon, the UAE's vision of a high-tech, sustainable, and economically robust future is rapidly coming into focus, promising benefits for both the nation and the global automotive industry.
Deena Kamel / The National