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French and Italian firms to test flying taxis in Abu Dhabi

An eVTOL craft designed by French company Ascendance, which has signed a deal with Abu Dhabi Investment Office to set up in the emirate Ascendance
An eVTOL craft designed by French company Ascendance, which has signed a deal with Abu Dhabi Investment Office to set up in the emirate

Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), an investment arm of the Abu Dhabi government, has signed agreements with France’s Ascendence and Italy’s Manta Aircraft to set up operations in the emirate’s smart and autonomous vehicles industry (Savi) cluster.

The agreements were signed at the recently-concluded Dubai Airshow, the UAE state-run Wam news agency reported.

Located in Masdar City, the Savi cluster provides facilities, services and a regulatory framework to enable the design, testing and manufacturing of applications for transportation and mobility on air, land and sea.

Ascendance will evaluate the potential of its electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) design – Atea – to create new aerial routes in the UAE on a regional scale by partnering with local operators. 

Manta Aircraft plans to relocate its operations to the Savi cluster and establish a facility to manufacture three aircraft models. 

The company is discussing with Abu Dhabi’s Technology Innovation Institute to co-develop a hybrid propulsion system to integrate into its products and for sale to other businesses.

ADIO in October agreed with US-based Archer Aviation to commence air taxi operations in Abu Dhabi in 2026. 

The Californian company will establish its first international headquarters and manufacturing facilities in the Savi cluster.

Abu Dhabi last month unveiled plans to establish Savi, which aims to add up to AED120 billion ($33 billion) to the country’s economy.

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