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Better Than Oil — How Innovative Transport Might Become A Big Deal in UAE

As recently as 20 years ago, 83% of the income in United Arab Emirates (UAE) was from the sale of oil, but as the economy grows and expands, the share that oil contributes to the GDP is only 29%. This means that UAE is well-positioned to lead the world in adoption of alternative technologies and urban mobility solutions.

Today, we have evidence that the United Arab Emirates will cease to be an oil-dependent country. The growth of the domestic market and the tourist inflow are already beginning to exert a serious impact on the country’s GDP. For example, from the forthcoming World Expo 2020 event alone, the country plans to earn a profit of $23 billion.

Additionally, the UAE invests a lot of funds in sophisticated technologies, construction, and infrastructure projects in order to diversify its sources of income and do away with dependency on raw material export. As recently as 20 years ago, 83% of the income of this “oasis in the desert” was from the sale of oil. Currently, the share that oil contributes to the GDP is only 29% – and this number is decreasing every year.

High-tech transport, which is the basis for the development of trade and tourism, has been evolving rapidly, too. The UAE has entered the top 10 of the most promising countries for autonomous vehicles. The experts believe that the relatively new and compact infrastructure of the country is well suited for new technologies that are difficult to fit into Europe and the USA. The first self-driving vehicles have already joined the Dubai traffic. These are in test mode for now, but it doesn’t seem like it will be long before the technology is more widespread.

In addition to the Smart Cities project, there will also be a significant increase (by 27%) of government expenditures on transport infrastructure when hosting the World Expo 2020. Along with all the accompanying large-scale construction projects, a most favorable climate for the most advanced transportation technologies in the UAE is coalescing.

The SkyWay* project is among the possible candidates for the development of this tech-focused infrastructure growth. The company, based in Minsk, has obtained the first certificates for its vehicles and is well-suited to take on emerging markets, including the UAE, that are looking to modernize transport infrastructure.


SkyWay transport differs from some currently popular large-scale infrastructure ideas, such as hyperloop, by minimalism of engineering and design. The simple and low-cost system is capable of work at high-efficiency levels through the use of a combination of proven technologies. There is nothing superfluous in the design: pre-stressed infrastructure structures reduce material consumption without significant complications for construction, and aerodynamic electric rolling stock does not require significant financial expenses to make it possible to reach required speeds.

Taking into account the variety of transport projects implemented in the UAE, SkyWay has all the chances to take on its share, but this requires competition with the companies that have already entered the market. The interest in the region has already been expressed by, for example, Virgin Hyperloop One, aiming at transportation between major UAE cities. The urban transportation market also has many options – from self-driving cars to flying taxis.

In addition to the existing stock already available, the company will soon present two more “connecting links” — a cargo drone and an affordable electric vehicle, which will help to make the infrastructure even more versatile and flexible.

For these reasons and others, the innovative SkyWay project could help meet the UAE authorities’ requirements. This type of transport solution is designed for a full range of possible tasks in a developing and growing region — from urban passenger to intercity cargo transportation and “one-of-a-kind” projects such as creation of port infrastructure. Anatoli Yunitskiy, SkyWay General Designer, commented, “We are strengthening our brand around the world along with India, Indonesia and Australia. The Arab world is one of our priorities, and the success in Dubai is a key to our development in the whole region.”

SkyWay urban transport

This post is supported by SkyWay. Images via Skyway

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