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Pilotless air taxi trial flight conducted over North Carolina

The trial of EHang’s two-seater passenger-grade autonomous aerial vehicle represents the first time that the 216 has received flight approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.

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The EHang 216 trial flight over North Carolina
The EHang 216 trial flight over North Carolina

Autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) platform company EHang has conducted the first-ever US trial flight of its two-seater passenger-grade AAV, the EHang 216, as part of the North Carolina Transportation Summit, hosted by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) this week.

 

It represents the first time that the EHang 216 has received flight approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). It was a non-passenger flight but EHang is working with the FAA to secure approval for a passenger trial flight of the EHang 216 in the near future.

 

2,000 trial flights

 

To date, EHang has safely conducted over 2,000 trial flights in the United States, China, Austria, the Netherlands, Qatar and the UAE.

 

“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,” said Roy Cooper, the North Carolina governor. “It’s taking off.”

 

EHang claims to be the first urban air mobility company to realise commercialisation for its passenger-grade AAVs, having already delivered 38 units to customers.

 

Prior to this debut flight in the US, two EHang 216 AAVs completed simultaneous trial flights of commercial sightseeing applications in Guangzhou, China in November 2019. These trial flights are part of EHang’s joint initiative with the government of Guangzhou for the municipality to become EHang’s first urban air mobility pilot city. The city will allow EHang to test flight routes and vertiports to implement the initiative.

 

“This trial flight represents a significant step towards bringing our urban air mobility solutions to the US market.”

 

In January 2019, EHang was selected by the Civil Aviation Administration of China as the country’s first and only pilot company for passenger-grade AAV operation programmes.

 

In May 2019, EHang launched trial operations of urban air cargo transportation in collaboration with the express delivery company DHL-Sinotrans along a customised flight route of approximately five miles (8km) in Donguan, China.

 

“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 US 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," he added.

 

EHang has three main business pillars: urban air mobility (including passenger transportation and logistics), smart city management and aerial media.

 

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