Flying Taxis Approved for Passengers in China; A World First

EHang Holdings recently completed the planned tests and flights in the last phase of demonstration and verification

Chuck Martin, Editorial Director AI & IoT

October 13, 2023

3 Min Read
Ehang Holdings' eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) vehicle landing.
EHang Holdings

A Chinese eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) vehicle maker has received permission to fly passengers in its unmanned aerial vehicle.

EHang Holdings received the type certificate (TC) officially issued by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).

This is believed to be the world’s first unmanned eVTOL two-passenger vehicle cleared for commercial use.

“Since CAAC formally accepted EHang’s EH216-S TC application in January 2021, the EHang team worked closely with CAAC and its expert team towards validating and verifying the aircraft’s innovative cutting-edge technologies,” stated the company announcement. “After more than 1,000 days and nights of persistent efforts, they overcame all kinds of difficulties and challenges to successfully complete all type certification objectives, proving that EHang is fully capable of independently designing, developing and manufacturing mature unmanned eVTOL products.”

During the validation process, the flying vehicle underwent laboratory, ground and flight tests at test sites across multiple locations in China.

The tests included “structural strength, flame resistance, crashworthiness, gas toxicity, environmental conditions of equipment and systems, software simulation, data links, ground control stations, overall system functionality, electromagnetic compatibility, flight performance and flight stability characteristics,” according to the company. 

Related:South Korean Music Producer Funds China Flying Vehicle Venture

The electric aerial vehicle (EAV) had more than 40,000 test flights for adjustments, according to the company.

EHang recently completed all the planned tests and flights in the last phase of demonstration and verification of compliance and completed the definitive type certification flight test.

That was the final milestone before full certification by CAAC, which accepted the company’s TC application in January 2021.

The EAV company has raised $23 million in a private placement, mostly from a well-known South Korean music producer.

The company also has a deal with the Bao’an District Government of Shenzhen municipality for a strategic partnership in urban air mobility for commercial operations of aerial vehicles following certification.

“Embracing the TC as our springboard, we will launch commercial operations of the EH216-S unmanned eVTOLs, prioritizing safety above all,” said Huazhi Hu, founder and CEO of EHang. “This will enable us to steadily progress towards our strategic goal to be a UAM platform operator, and commit to our mission to enable safe, autonomous, and eco-friendly air mobility accessible to everyone.”

Five EHang flying cars have already been delivered to be used for aerial tourism and sightseeing experiences in Shenzhen, China. The delivery marked the start of a 100-unit order from Shenzhen Boling Holding Group.

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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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