Sunday 18 August 2019

Robo-maids and neon beaches in Saudi plan

Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman. Photo: Reuters
Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman. Photo: Reuters

Raf Sanchez

The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia is planning a futuristic £400bn (€445bn) desert city where residents will be able to visit glow-in-the-dark beaches, watch cage-fighting robots and drink alcohol.

Leaked documents reveal the vast, and some say unrealistic, ambitions of Mohammed bin Salman for Neom, a city larger than Wales and spread across the country's north-west desert.

US consultants drew up 2,300 pages of plans to try to satisfy the Crown Prince's vision, sometimes filling in the gaps with technologies that have not yet been invented, according to 'The Wall Street Journal'.

Alcohol may be allowed in Neom, in contrast to the rest of the conservative kingdom where drinking is forbidden.

The planning documents, which may not represent the final plan, imagine bringing rain to the desert through "cloud seeding", the process of firing dust particles into the air to encourage precipitation.

It suggests that residents may pay to pass the time by watching "robo-cage fights", where humanoids would fight each other for the amusement of the crowd. Meanwhile, robotic maids would tidy houses.

The Crown Prince has reportedly taken an interest in a proposal for a "Silver Beach", where the sand would glow like the face of a watch. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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