EHang Holdings' flagship passenger-grade AAV EHang 216 has performed its maiden unmanned and autonomous trial flight in Japan to showcase safe, autonomous, eco-friendly urban air mobility solutions.
Ahead of the trial flight, the EHang 216 obtained a permit from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan (MLIT) with a local partner. EHang 216 is the first passenger-grade AAV granted permission for outdoor open airspace trial flights in Japan.
One of the trial flights was completed at the Leading the Revolution of Urban Air Mobility event, organised by the Okayama Kurashiki Mizushima Aero & Space Industry Cluster Study Group (MASC) and EHang at Kasaoka Air Station in Okayama Prefecture, Japan. Looking ahead, EHang and MASC will collaborate to further develop new air transportation use cases in the country.
At the event, the Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato Katsunobu appointed his secretary Mr. Sugihara Yohei to attend the event and deliver a speech on his behalf, saying: “At present, many companies around the world have launched such flying car projects, and are conducting research and development and demonstration projects. As the government, we will actively improve aviation regulations while supporting private enterprises in a timely and appropriate manner.”
Other guests included Ito Kaori, the mayor of Kurashiki City, Okayama Prefecture; Yoshifumi Kobayashi, the mayor of Kasaoka City Okayama Prefecture; Inoue Mineichi, the head of the Kurashiki Chamber of Commerce and Industry; and Sugimoto Tetsuya, the head of Kasaoka Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Hashimoto Gaku, member of the Japan House of Representatives and Narisawa Koichi, the counsellor of Civil Aviation Bureau at MLIT, sent their best regards and comments.
Hashimoto says: “I am very pleased that Japan's first trial flight of a flying car took place in the land of Okayama. We have high expectations for flying cars as a new generation for the growth industries. We look forward to developing flying cars as social services through public-private cooperation.”
In 2018, the Japanese government established the ‘Public-Private Council for Air Transportation Revolution’ and formulated a roadmap towards the air transportation revolution. The council aims to start the business services of air transportation of goods and people utilising flying vehicles by 2023 with gradual expansion from rural areas to urban areas. According to the blueprint, the Civil Aviation Bureau of the MLIT is studying and improving related systems such as the type and airworthiness safety standards for flying cars and the certification of pilots.