Flying Taxi Company Teams With Telefonica; 5G to the Air

The intent is to leverage the low latency and high data transmission capacity of Telefonica’s 5G network

Chuck Martin, Editorial Director AI & IoT

February 15, 2024

4 Min Read
EHang's EH216-S UAV flies in the air.
EHang Holdings

A Chinese eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) vehicle company is partnering with Telefonica Tech to connect its flying vehicles in Europe and Latin America.

The alliance between EHang Holdings and the digital business unit of the Spanish telecommunications company Telefónica aims to boost Urban Air Mobility (UAM) by deploying smart aerial connections.

Connectivity is key for pilotless EHang flying vehicles and the intent is to leverage the low latency and high data transmission capacity of Telefonica’s 5G networks.

"Telefónica Tech's capabilities and expertise in connectivity and the Internet of Things will enable EHang to deploy its solutions efficiently and securely, allowing millions of people to benefit from its applications in their daily lives,” said Victoria Jing Xiang, EHang's chief operating officer for Europe and Latam.

Both companies are scheduled to officially present the details at Mobile World Congress later this month.

The EHang electric aerial vehicle (EAV) is designed to transport passengers and cargo without a pilot on board. A central command station monitors the vehicles and can take control remotely.

EHang selected the connectivity capabilities of Telefónica Tech to enhance the security and efficiency of the flying vehicles in both regions.

Related:Flying Taxi Company Expands in China; Sets Vehicle Price at $410K

The low latency and high-speed communications allow the real-time control and monitoring of EAVs by sending data to ground control systems. The 5G network is also expected to prevent potential interference and provide security through the encryption of SIM cards in the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).

The two companies plan to implement use cases in Europe and Latin America around advanced air mobility (AAM), smart city management and other aerial aspects such as passenger transport, logistics, health services and emergency response.

The new alliance intends to leverage Telefónica IoT environment Tech TheThinX laboratory and EHang's Urban Air Mobility Center in Spain.

This is the latest in a series of EHang global partnership ventures. 

The company recently formed a strategic partnership with the Guangzhou Development District Administrative Committee and the Guangzhou Automobile Group to team for research and development, production and sales to expand in China.

The $410,000 EHang vehicle is approved for flying passengers.

EHang previously partnered with the Bureau of Culture, Radio, Television, Tourism and Sports of Luohu District, Shenzhen municipality, to grow its EAV business in the cultural, commercial and tourism sectors.

Related:Flying Taxi Company Starts Vehicle Deliveries; Pilotless Travel

The EH216-S EAV previously received a standard airworthiness certificate (AC) from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), the first of its kind globally for an EAV.

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.

The company recently delivered an EAV to Eton, an aviation technology subsidiary of Guangzhou Development District Communications Investment Group, which is managed by the government of Huangpu District in Guangzhou.

The plan is to use the EAV for aerial tourism in Guangzhou.

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

EHang 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.

The two companies plan to develop urban air transportation and smart city management in the UAE, Middle East and North Africa regions.

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

The cluster, led by the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development and the Abu Dhabi Investment Office, aims to establish Abu Dhabi as a hub for smart and autonomous vehicles. 

As part of this new agreement, Ehang plans to work with Wings Logistics to obtain local certification of its EAV in the UAE.

Wings Logistics Hub intends to buy up to 100 of the flying vehicles from EHang with the first deliveries starting this year.

Ehang recently opened a UAM center at the Lleida–Alguaire International Airport (LEDA) in Catalonia, Spain, to manage its EAVs there.

Like what you've read? For more stories like this on flying cars and emerging technologies, sign up for our free daily email newsletter to stay updated!

Read more about:

Flying Cars

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.

Sign Up for the Newsletter
The most up-to-date news and insights into the latest emerging technologies ... delivered right to your inbox!

You May Also Like