Aircraft

Ehang's pilotless air taxi aces first flight demo in the US

Ehang's pilotless air taxi ace...
Air taxis like this Ehang 216 could soon be flying over the skies of Seville, Spain
Air taxis like this Ehang 216 could soon be flying over the skies of Seville, Spain
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The Ehang 216 was unmanned during the test flight, but wasn't carrying passengers
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The Ehang 216 was unmanned during the test flight, but wasn't carrying passengers
The Ehang 216 is a two-passenger version of the autonomous electric air taxi that debuted at CES 2016
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The Ehang 216 is a two-passenger version of the autonomous electric air taxi that debuted at CES 2016
The test flight represents the first time that the air taxi has been granted flight approval by the Federal Aviation Administration
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The test flight represents the first time that the air taxi has been granted flight approval by the Federal Aviation Administration
Air taxis like this Ehang 216 could soon be flying over the skies of Seville, Spain
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Air taxis like this Ehang 216 could soon be flying over the skies of Seville, Spain
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper posing with the Ehang 216
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North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper posing with the Ehang 216
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Ehang's Autonomous Aerial Vehicle (AAV) – a multi-rotor drone capable of carrying people – made its first US appearance at CES 2016, and now with CES 2020 in full swing the company has demonstrated the first flight in the US of its two-seater autonomous air taxi. Though the trial flight didn't take place at CES.

The electric air taxi shown at CES 2016 was designed to hop a single passenger from A to B above congested ground traffic. Later that year, Ehang announced that its 184 autonomous drone would undergo flight testing in the US, it was then shown actually lifting passengers over the company's home turf in 2018.

In November 2019, a pair of two-passenger AAVs simultaneously flew over Guangzhou in China, and just last month, the launch of commercial operations moved a step closer with news that Ehang had partnered with Heli Chuangxin Real Estate Co. Ltd to build an urban air mobility demonstration project in the port city.

Now the two passenger Ehang 216 autonomous air taxi has taken to the skies in North Carolina ahead of the 2020 North Carolina Transportation Summit at the Raleigh Convention Center this week. Though the 216 was unmanned, it wasn't carrying any passengers.

The Ehang 216 was unmanned during the test flight, but wasn't carrying passengers
The Ehang 216 was unmanned during the test flight, but wasn't carrying passengers

But the test flight at the State Highway Patrol Facility/Aviation Hangar in Raleigh represents the first time that the air taxi has been granted flight approval by the Federal Aviation Administration. The next step will be to secure FAA approval to fly with passengers aboard.

"Flight started in North Carolina over 100 years ago," said North Carolina's Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon. "So, it is appropriate the demonstration of this cutting-edge, disruptive technology takes place in North Carolina."

The video below shows the Ehang AAV in action.

Meet George Jetson, EHang AAV is coming! | Urban Air Mobility | EHang

Source: Ehang

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2 comments
guzmanchinky
It should be no problem to do thousands and thousands of these unmanned test flights before granting authorization to put a person in it. I'd like to see the noise impact before I say whether I want these anywhere near where I live...
Towerman
The noise impact is minimal compared to any helicopter or streetbike. It makes me smile everytime i see volocopter and ehang in the news. BUT there are also strong competitors up and coming and i want to see more from SKAI