Flying Vehicles Targeted for Aerial Tourism; Pilotless in China

Xishan Tourism signed a purchase agreement for an additional 450 electric aerial vehicles over the next two years

Chuck Martin, Editorial Director AI & IoT

May 31, 2024

4 Min Read
 EHang's electric aerial vehicle in the air.

Chinese eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) vehicle maker EHang Holdings signed a deal to sell 50 of its flying vehicles to Xishan Tourism.

The electric aerial vehicles (EAV) are EHang’s EH216-S pilotless electric vehicle in a sale valued at $15 million.

Xishan Tourism also signed a purchase agreement for an additional 450 EAVs over the next two years. 

The tourism company plans to use the self-flying vehicles for aerial tourism and passenger transportation.

“As the Chinese government continues to support the growth of low-altitude economy and eVTOL industry, we're capitalizing on this momentum to further expand our presence in the Chinese market and prepare for commercial UAM operations,” said Huazhi Hu, founder, chairman and CEO of EHang.

“We're delighted to secure this major order from Taiyuan and look forward to collaborating with our partners to establish a benchmark for low-altitude economy in the city, and gradually introduce more low-altitude use cases in Shanxi and extend it across North China.”

Taiyuan City is one of the national civil unmanned aviation demonstration zones in Shanxi Province, which has been targeted as a national demonstration area to develop the general aviation industry.

EHang recently took its first passenger for a demonstration ride in Abu Dhabi.

Related:Flying Taxi Carries First Passenger; Pilotless Travel

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

The passenger flight followed demonstrations of the EAV conducted without passengers at the DriftX mobility expo in Abu Dhabi.

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.

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

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

EHang has governmental approval to mass-produce its passenger-carrying vehicles.

EHang received the Production Certificate (PC) for its EH216-S EAV from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (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.

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

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.

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 also 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, on 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.

Related:Air Taxis Fly in Packs in China; No Pilots

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

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

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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.

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