Flying Taxi Carries First Passenger; Pilotless Travel

The pilotless vehicle took off from the Emirates Falcons Aviation Club with board member of Multi Level Group

Chuck Martin, Editorial Director AI & IoT

May 7, 2024

4 Min Read
EHang's EH216-S pilotless electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicle flies in the air.

Chinese eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) vehicle maker EHang took its first passenger for a demonstration ride in Abu Dhabi.

The EH216-S pilotless vehicle took off from the Emirates Falcons Aviation Club with Mohamed Al Dhaheri, board member of Multi Level Group (MLG) and EHang strategic partner, as the sole passenger.

The passenger flight followed demonstrations of the electric aerial vehicle (EAV) conducted without passengers at the DriftX mobility expo in Abu Dhabi.

“After securing the approval for passenger-carrying demo flights and conducting the debut flight, we will actively foster collaboration and communication between the GCAA and the Civil Aviation Administration of China to expedite the progress towards commercial flights of our pilotless aircraft in the UAE, which will become a milestone in the advancement of Abu Dhabi and the global air mobility sector,” said Huazhi Hu, founder, CEO and chairman of EHang. 

The EAV maker joined the Smart and Autonomous Vehicle Industries Cluster in Abu Dhabi and formed a partnership with Wings Logistics Hub, a passenger eVTOL subsidiary of Technology Holding Company.

EHang also is collaborating with the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) for EAV development in the UAE.

The EAV maker recently signed a deal with fast battery charging company Greater Bay Technology (GBT) to jointly develop very high-speed battery charging systems for flying vehicles.

Related:Flying Taxi Company Partners for Extreme Fast Battery Charging

EHang and GBT plan to jointly develop eVTOL power cells, batteries, packs, charging piles and energy storage systems that comply with the airworthiness standards of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).

The stated goal is to create the world's first Ultra-Fast Charging (UFC) system for EHang’s EAV.

EAV battery charging times are expected to take fewer than 10 minutes to charge from 30% to 80%, according to EHang.

At the DriftX mobility event in Abu Dhabi last month, EHang signed a deal with ADIO to further drive eVTOL development in the UAE region.

EHang recently received governmental approval to mass produce its passenger-carrying, pilotless vehicles.

EHang Holdings received the Production Certificate (PC) for its EH216-S EAV from the CAAC.

The $410,000 EHang EAV previously received a standard airworthiness certificate (AC) from the CACC, the first of its kind globally for an EAV.

The company is now authorized for mass production.

The system to make the flying vehicles includes raw materials, supplier management, production organization, production quality control, pre-delivery test, after-sales repair and maintenance. The new approval includes guidelines for all steps in the production procedure.

Related:Flying Taxi Company Expands Into UAE; 100-Vehicle Sale

EHang recently conducted a demonstration flight of its pilotless flying vehicle in Latin America, flying the EAV at the Reserva Conchal Resort in Costa Rica.

The flight was held in front of national authorities and media to help promote advanced air mobility (AAM) in the region.

EHang recently flew a group of 12 EAVs together in China.

In a video, the 12 flying vehicles took off together from an airfield in Hefei, China, in what appeared to be a snowy day.

The video showed the vehicles all lifting straight up at the same time, flying in different groups, flying over the airfield and then landing in a row at the same time.

The long-range goal of the flying vehicles industry is to have EAVs evolve from piloted vehicles, such as the coming air taxis, to aerial vehicles that fly automatically, with no crew onboard. 

While some EAV makers such as Wisk in the U.S. are planning to start this way in the future, it is not in the most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) electric aerial vehicle planning documents.

EHang has been active in marketing its pilotless vehicles globally with several of its vehicles on display at DriftX in Abu Dhabi.

Related:Flying Taxi Takes Demo Flight in Costa Rica; Pilotless

EHang extended its operations to the United Arab Emirates including the sale of up to 100 of its EAVs.

Read more about:

Flying CarsAsia

About the Author(s)

Chuck Martin

Editorial Director AI & IoT

Chuck Martin, author of "Flying Vehicles," New York Times Business Bestselling author and futurist, is Editorial Director at Informa Tech, home of AI Business, IoT World Today and Enter Quantum. Martin has been a leader in emerging digital technologies for more than two decades. He is considered one of the foremost emerging technology experts in the world and his latest book title "Flying Vehicles" (The Emergence of Personal Air Travel, Flying Cars, and Air Taxis) followed "Digital Transformation 3.0" (The New Business-to-Consumer Connections of The Internet of Things).  He hosts a worldwide podcast titled “The Voices of the Internet of Things with Chuck Martin,” where he converses with top executives from the companies driving the adoption of emerging technology.

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