AAV specialist EHang will work with local partners to realise its plans to conduct passenger flights and goods transportation with autonomous air taxis in urban areas in the Austrian city.
Austria’s third largest city of Linz plans to run an urban air mobility (UAM) trial with autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) technology platform company EHang.
At the recent global Urban Air Mobility (UAM) Virtual Conference held by the Aviation Week Network, EHang also shared UAM use cases in varied scenarios and efforts to drive forward UAM implementation in Europe.
EHang established a strategic partnership in 2019 with aerospace company, FACC, and energy and municipal services organisation, Linz AG. The local partners have experience in urban public transportation and charging infrastructure. The three parties agreed to join forces to help Linz become a UAM pilot city.
They plan to conduct passenger flights and goods transportation with autonomous air taxis in urban areas. The trial will use the EHang 2T16.
EHang claims that suitable eco-friendly electric motors and powerful batteries with short charging times already exist and stable 5G infrastructure is available to ensure real-time communication and precision for navigation during flight and landing. Next, a suitable test route running over uninhabited areas to the vertiports will be determined within the city of Linz. While construction is planned for 2021, trial flights are planned in the near future.
“We will implement the whole value chain that is necessary for UAM operations, as well as demonstrate passenger experience journeys as well”
EHang said in a statement that over the course of the trial flight, various aspects will be carefully studied including the practicality of implementation in urban areas, acceptance by the populace and the expected positive impact on the environment, and more.
The project will be led by joint efforts from each partner bringing in their specific expertise. The public service aspect will also be considered, as UAM is not only about purchasing aircraft by private customers. EHang said public benefits are paramount, with a focus on integration into an overall transportation plan.
“We will implement the whole value chain that is necessary for UAM operations, as well as demonstrate passenger experience journeys as well,” said EHang founder, chairman and CEO, Huazhi Hu. “Bookings systems, boarding processes and aftermarket service questions will play a role.
“In the course of the end-to-end process we will also be able to learn and improve our solutions on the go. We need to start thinking about implementation today, parallel to the ongoing regulatory processes as both will benefit from each other. Last but not least, we want to involve the people and let them touch, feel and experience UAM as far as possible today.”
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