EHang has selected Guangzhou as its first urban air mobility (UAM) pilot city.
EHang, an autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) technology platform company, has selected Guangzhou as its first urban air mobility (UAM) pilot city.
EHang will establish a low-altitude aviation transportation network that shuttles passengers and goods “in a safe, fast, environmentally friendly, cost-efficient and intelligent way”.
As part of the pilot programme, EHang will support the Guangzhou government to set up a command-and-control centre. EHang also intends to help the city build up the basic infrastructure to support urban air mobility, including by designing safety rules and market entry thresholds.
On the passenger front, EHang plans to use the pilot programme in Guangzhou to test more flight routes and vertiports, before moving into commercial operations.
EHang will then work with more partners to expand the operations to cover more areas in Guangzhou and transport a wider variety of high-value low-weight goods, including blood and organs for emergency medical use.
Solving city challenges
Hu Huazhi, EHang’s founder, chairman and CEO, said: “We are very excited about exploring the various meaningful ways in which AAVs can solve some of the stressors our congested cities face. We are in conversations with other cities, not just in China, to develop safe, efficient and affordable autonomous air transportation.”
EHang has already conducted commercial operations in air cargo transportation over the past two years in and near its home base in Guangzhou, working with DHL-Sinotrans and retail company Yonghui.
In January 2019, EHang was picked by the Civil Aviation Administration of China as the country’s first and only pilot company for passenger AAV development. Its AAV took its first global public pre-programmed flights carrying a total of 17 passengers in successive flights in Vienna in April.
EHang says that to date it has safely conducted over 2,000 flight tests both inside and outside of China.
Mr Hu said: “Safety has been the top priority for EHang from day one.”
Guangzhou’s Vice Mayor Chen Zhiying said: “Guangzhou is one of the four transportation hubs in the Greater Bay Area. The city has always been very accommodating to innovation, which provides EHang with the perfect ecosystem to build out a smart UAM market.”
For example, in the DHL-Sinotrans partnership, EHang says its Falcon UAV reduces the delivery time for an eight-kilometre trip from 40 minutes to eight minutes.
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