North Carolina hosts first U.S. flight of EHang pilotless air taxi
Posted: 10 January 2020 | Sam Mehmet (Intelligent Transport)
EHang reportedly has three main business pillars: urban air mobility (including passenger transportation and logistics), smart city management and aerial media.
EHang, an autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) technology platform company, has conducted its first-ever U.S. trial flight of its two-seater passenger-grade AAV air taxi, the EHang 216, as part of the North Carolina Transportation Summit hosted by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT).
This is said to represents the first time that the EHang 216 has received flight approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). While this was a non-passenger flight, EHang is reportedly working with the FAA to secure approval for a passenger trial flight of the EHang 216 in the near future.
“Our mission is to make safe, autonomous, and eco-friendly air mobility accessible to everyone and this trial flight represents a significant step towards bringing our urban air mobility solutions to the U.S. market,” said EHang Founder, Chairman, and CEO, Huazhi Hu. “Pilotless air taxis have the power to transform everyday life in urban areas since they can lessen pollution, expedite emergency services, and save individuals and businesses time and money through shorter travel times.”
Roy Cooper, the North Carolina Governor, added: “We are proud to have the first autonomous aerial vehicle flying in North America, in North Carolina. Obviously, they are beginning this all over the world and what this technology means for transportation, both cargo and passengers, is pretty astronomical. This is going to be very positive for the economy. We want North Carolina to be on the cutting edge of this technology and we’re proud to have EHang here to show and demonstrate to us what can be done with this technology.”
To date, EHang has reportedly safely conducted over 2,000 trial flights in the U.S., China, Austria, the Netherlands, Qatar and the UAE to ensure that its AAVs operate safely and reliably in different areas globally.
Prior to this debut flight in the U.S., two EHang 216 AAVs completed simultaneous trial flights of their commercial sightseeing air taxis in Guangzhou, China. These trial flights are said to be part of EHang’s joint initiative with the government of Guangzhou to develop Guangzhou to be EHang’s first urban air mobility pilot city.
EHang, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT)