Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman recently announced a 170-kilometer long car-free, zero-carbon city within NEOM called The Line. We take you there
The Kingdom is a country bent on tech innovation where more than 70% of Saudi residents are under the age of 30.
There, 93% of people are connected to the internet against a global average of 53%.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman recently announced a 170-kilometer long car-free, zero-carbon city within NEOM called The Line, which is being prepped to house a million residents and generate 380,000 jobs by 2030.
Construction will begin this quarter, and the $100 billion-$200 billion being allocated for infrastructure includes a walkable belt of hyper-connected communities where no journey between two destinations along The Line is longer than 20 minutes.
THE LINE experience
After landing, and being zipped on a high-speed underground transit line that within less than 20 minutes takes you to the city center, a small autonomous shuttle awaits at the exit, already knowing to which hotel to take you.
At your hotel, a facial recognition system has already recognized you and your fingerprints can open your room for you to relax. Your bags will already be waiting for you.
Everything you need, from shops to playgrounds, entertainment, food, restaurants, hotels, schools, and more, is all within a few minutes’ reach.
From air taxis to humanoid concierges, to AI-enabled micro-mobility services, everything will be powered through the 100% renewable NEOM grid.
THE LINE designs
The Line will be organized into three layers. At the very top, the people: arranged in community "modules" of about 80,000 citizens each. Underneath, an invisible layer of services dedicated to last-mile logistics; and under that, a "spine" layer, containing the transportation system that will connect the communities at high speed.
Underpinning The Line, and key to the city delivering on its promises is an aggressive use of technology. The city will have its own operating system, called Neos, which will bring together various data points to run services efficiently.
IoT devices will be sprinkled liberally across the communities to smarten up buildings and save energy.
Personalized services that predict your moves
Joseph Bradley, head of technology and digital at NEOM told ZDNet that Neos will predict people’s next move and act accordingly.
"NEOM will be proactive," says Bradley. "It can take action. And ultimately, it is personalized."
Bradley refers to an array of technologies that include the "most advanced" 5G technology in the world, to support IoT devices, VR, AR, autonomous vehicles, and many other applications with a network up to 10 times faster than standard 4G.
Interactions will be built on blockchain technology and protected by next-generation quantum cryptographic systems to prevent even the most sophisticated attacks.
Residents will be given the option of anonymously sharing their data, such as shopping habits and energy use.
Data protection is one key area where THE LINE residents are likely to want some clearly defined policies.
Attracting residents of the future
The objective is clear: The Line could provide a model for future city growth. And the city projects that have come before have pointed the way.
NEOM's team has less than 10 years to sell the project to The Line's future residents and expects hundreds of thousands of citizens to be strolling around the city's piazzas by 2030. About 600 developers, architects, designers, and urban planners already live in the region today.
Construction has kicked off for the city's 5G infrastructure, and coding has begun for the Neos OS.
Neal Coupland, sports partnership director at NEOM said one of the biggest barriers to people being active and healthy is the time it takes to get to the right facilities to take part in those exercises.
“(When) we can solve those issues (We will be) hitting our target of getting 75% of the population active for three hours a week.”
By 2025, says Neom's team, it will be possible to start enacting a resident's experience of The Line.