China-headquartered technology platform EHang has secured the first order for its VT-30 long-range, electric passenger-grade AAV, and the company will work with local partners such as the Okayama Kurashiki Mizushima Aero & Space Industry Cluster Study Group (MASC) to explore uses for both the VT-30 and the dual seat EH216.
Recently the company completed demonstration flights of its EH216 in Fukushima and Okayama, which explored the application and practice of AAV solutions for cross-island travel, emergency rescue and aerial logistics. It performed emergency rescue scenarios in extreme weather with strong winds up to 27.5m/s at the Fukushima Robot Test Field (RTF); in 2019 the Public-Private Council for Air Transportation Revolution in Japan positioned the Fukushima RTF as a fixed site for test flights, preparing for commercial applications of eVTOLs in 2023. And at Kasaoka Air Station in Okayama it carried a 60 kg load. EHang will work with its partners to explore more AAV uses in the Setouchi Area.
“It has always been expected that AAVs would be used for travel on outlying islands and sparsely populated areas, life rescue and material support in disasters,” says Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) Civil Aviation Bureau counsellor Narisawa Koichi. “I also personally appreciate the efforts made by enterprises like EHang to achieve this goal.” The MLIT will formulate and publish new flight test guidelines to support the experimental tests of AAV enterprises.
EHang has partnered with Guangzhou Development District Communications Investment Group (GDDCI) to jointly launch the 5G Intelligent Air Mobility Experience Centre at the Innovation Park in Huangpu District. This pilot centre is designed to accommodate all necessary AAV infrastructures as per the 100 Air Mobility Routes Initiative, including UAM route planning and AAV operations.
EHang founder, chairman and CEO Huazhi Hu says: “Guangzhou is EHang's first global urban air mobility city and the 5G Intelligent Air Mobility Experience Centre has become the latest operation spot under the 100 Air Mobility Routes Initiative. We will use the world's leading AAV technologies and command-and-control system to provide intelligent, comprehensive solutions for urban air mobility and smart city management in Guangzhou. We expect to build Guangzhou into a model city for UAM and have plans to extend it to more cities across the country and worldwide.”
The centre covers an area of 2,000 sqm and is equipped with a rooftop take off and landing vertiport as well as a hangar for power charging and maintenance. Powered by the 5G telecommunication networks, it relies on EHang's command-and-control system platform to enable trial operations for the EH216, Falcon B and other eVTOL models. There is also an integrated, automatic guided vehicle parking garage, that provides an infrastructure for future car and aerial transfers.
UAM is being mapped across four central areas in Guangzhou's Huangpu district, and a number of operational flight routes have been planned and tested for passenger transportation, aerial sightseeing, aerial logistics and smart city management. General manager of GDDCI Chengjiu Zhou says: “By leveraging the 5G Intelligent Air Mobility Experience Centre, we will develop an intelligent air mobility ecosystem integrating the hardware, software, take off and landing platform and operation services in Huangpu district.”