The EHang 216 has completed its first autonomous flight demonstration with passengers.

The EHang 216 makes its first successful flight with passengers in Jilin, China.

While EHang has completed numerous flight demonstrations with the 216 before, such as in Guangzhou, Austria, Qatar, and the Netherlands, this will be the first demonstration while carrying passengers. According to the Guangzhou-based company, the eVTOL carried passengers in autonomous flight in a controlled flight demonstration at the 2019 Northeast Asia Expo in Changchun in China’s Jilin province from August 23rd to 27th. 

“We are very excited that our AAVs are visiting more cities and being accepted and celebrated by local communities,” said Hu Huazhi, EHang’s founder, chairman, and CEO. “This is a critical step towards making our dream reality and to make urban air mobility broadly available and affordable as a safe, fast, and eco-friendly transportation alternative.”

The EHang 216 can carry a load of up to 485 lb. on flights with a range of 22 miles at 81 mph. Fully electric, the 216 is equipped with It is battery powered and equipped with 16 rotors. Earlier this year, the 216 received an unmanned aircraft system safety certificate from the China Academy of Civil Aviation Science and Technology, establishing that the 216 AAV can be safely operated within an predefined border that the company developed to prevent autonomous aircraft from operating in restricted areas. This certification is also part of the process to allow EHang to operate commercially within Guangzhou in the future.

Earlier in the year, EHang completed a successful test flight with the 216 in Vienna, Austria.

EHang and its partners have also been working with the International Civil Aviation Organization at the United Nations, the European Aviation Safety Agency, the Civil Aviation Administration of China, and other aviation regulatory organizations in North America and Europe, to help determine the logistics and regulations for the urban air mobility market.

Why it’s important: Safety is a huge factor in the potential success of the urban air mobility market, and EHang’s flight demonstration with the 216 is important to reassure potential passengers that little if any dangers exist in riding the 216. While EHang has done several successful flight demonstrations with the 216 before, in EHang’s headquarters in Guangzhou, as well as in Lianyungang, Luzhi, Taizhou, Yantai, and Shenyang, this will be the first flight where EHang allowed passengers onboard, marking a huge milestone and success for the Chinese company going into the future of urban air mobility. 

Sources // Yahoo Finance

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