EHang’s newest White Paper explores urban air Mobility vehicle and infrastructure design, applications of technology, the current regulatory landscape, and the path towards commercialization.
EHang (Nasdaq: EH), one of the world’s leading autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) technology companies, has published its first white paper on the future of transportation and Urban Air Mobility (UAM). The white paper explores UAM’s potential to transform transportation globally with insights into vehicle design, an overview of potential applications and the current regulatory landscape, and recommendations for how to optimize UAM’s path towards commercialization.
“UAM and the widespread use of passenger and cargo AAVs will transform how people and goods move around urban areas,” said Mr. Huazhi Hu, the Founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer of EHang. “The successful deployment of AAVs will help cities improve efficiency, enhance safety, cut costs, and become more environmentally sustainable.”
EHang’s key points from the white paper include:
- UAM will be safer, more effective, and more immediately deployable if it structurally resembles an on-demand bus system with centralized oversight and set point-to-point routes rather than a taxi system with diffuse routes.
- The success of UAM will depend on commercial operations that are centrally managed. This is a different model from the traditional airline industry in which hundreds of airlines globally compete with each other, leading to smaller margins.
- Key characteristics of a successful UAM system include: autonomous services (i.e. pilotless passenger and cargo transportation); point-to-point, straight-line, fixed air routes; a centralized command-and-control platform that manages all AAV flights within a certain area; a shared economy (i.e. no individual ownership of AAVs); and a reliance on green energy.
- In order to ensure that safety remains the top priority for vehicle design, AAVs need to include: power source redundancy (e.g. by having multiple motors and propellers); completely autonomous operations; back-up / duplicate flight control, communications, and navigation systems.
- Based on EHang’s modeling for future commercial operations, a straight-line trip on an AAV could be cheaper for the user than a current New York City taxi ride covering the same distance, all while still being profitable to the operator. Furthermore, the model used is highly conservative since it does not capture the efficiency gains of future economies of scale, improved battery technologies, etc.
- While the AAV conversation has mostly focused on urban spaces, there are broad non-urban applications for services currently being provided by helicopters, including in search and rescue, emergency medical services, offshore operations, oil and gas, firefighting, forestry, power-line repair and surveys, agriculture and pest control, media, aerial photography, and law enforcement.
- The successful development of a UAM ecosystem will require deep collaboration between UAM vehicle providers, UAM network operators, infrastructure developers, telecommunication network partners, city, regional and national governments, etc.
Read the full white paper from EHang here.
EHang has already commercialized its passenger-grade AAVs, having delivered 38 units to customers as of December 5, 2019, and is actively working to make UAM an everyday reality in cities worldwide. To date, EHang has safely conducted over two thousand test flights both inside and outside of China to ensure that its AAVs operate safely and reliably.
Why it’s important: With the new white paper, EHang has joined the likes of Uber Elevate, Volocopter, and Airbus on outlining its vision for the future of aerial mobility through white paper. The Chinese company has certainly earned credibility recently, having recently opened on the NASDAQ with a $662 million valuation, and completing its first trial flight in the U.S in North Carolina. With the publishing of this white paper along with its other recent successes, EHang marks its place among the top aerial mobility companies worldwide.
Other recent news about EHang:
- EHang Successfully Completes First U.S Trial Flight
- EHang’s IPO Results in $662 Million Valuation
- EHang takes new step towards launching pilotless air taxi route in Guangzhou