Imagine the following scenario: you land from your flight, cross the airport without pushing and then, you cross a high-speed subway line that takes you to the city center in less than 20 minutes. Once you arrive you do not need to call a taxi for the hotel: a small autonomous bus is waiting for you at the exit and already knows where you are going.
After a short walk (nothing more than a few hundred meters) through a city that has no cars and roads but open squares and lush green spaces, the bus leaves you at your hotel.
Check in is not required. A face recognition system has already done it for you. Go straight to your room, touch the door handle with your fingers for authentication and the door opens. Your vacation can begin.
In the same amount of time it would normally take just to get through passport control, you have reached The Line - a 170-kilometer Red Sea city in northwestern Saudi Arabia currently under construction.
It is expected to be completed by 2030, and will be equipped with every high-tech item commonly found in science fiction movies, from flying taxis to humanoids.
And while much of the project remains a vision, the designers and architects working on The Line already provide an exciting idea of what smart cities could soon be like.
Η Line is a part of the Neom project, a portmanteau of the Greek word "new" and the Arabic word "future", and which is built on a piece of land the size of Belgium in the desert. The Neom project was announced by the Government of Saudi Arabia as part of the "Vision for 2030", with the aim of creating a "living laboratory", with super-automation, creative entrepreneurship and sustainable initiatives, with an estimated total cost of $ 500 billion.
Within the Neom project, the city of Line will stretch for about 200 kilometers, a corridor that will be dug into the desert and will consist of smaller communities that will be connected to each other by a single metro line of extremely high speed. No cars, but AI-enabled micro-mobility services, no roads or congestion, but an urban environment in which 95% of nature will be protected.
All of this will work through Neom's 100% renewable network.
The City Line will be organized on three levels. At the top, the people: located in communities "units" of about 80.000 citizens each. Residents will never be more than a five-minute walk from everything they need, including schools, medical clinics and leisure facilities. Below, there will be an invisible level of services dedicated to supply, and below that, a "backbone" layer, which will contain the transport system that will connect the communities with high speed. Going from one end of the line to the other, as the Neom project team promises, will never take more than 20 minutes.
The city will have its own operating system, called Neos. The operating system collects data on the operation of the services as efficiently as possible. IoT devices will be everywhere in all communities to upgrade buildings and save energy. AI systems will balance the grid so that there is no waste of energy. The data will be used to monitor the status of various items throughout the city, and in each of them there will be a "status indicator" to predict maintenance requirements.
When smart cities currently use about 1% of available data, operating Neos will use 90% of community information, says Joseph Bradley, head of technology at Neom.
Let's move on to another level:
The city of Line will know all its inhabitants. As soon as they get off the plane, the operating Neos will predict the next move and act accordingly.
The functional Neos will know where the residents are at all times and will monitor their health. The operating system will react immediately if someone falls down and stays on the ground for a long time, sending drones to shoot video and deciding which vehicle would be appropriate, if necessary, to provide medical assistance.
In this city, citizens are encouraged to share their data, and in return can have a high-value, sensitive, and highly personalized urban environment.
How do you think others have the initiative for you?