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Wed, Feb 22, 2023

EHang eVTOL Makes First Autonomous Passenger-Carrying Flight

Chinese Vehicle, Japanese Skies, Universal Milestone

EHang is a Guangzhou-based Chinese developer and manufacturer of Autonomous Aerial Vehicles (AAV). The company’s aircraft currently serve the Chinese aerial photographic, cinematographic, emergency response, and survey sectors.

On 19 February 2023, EHang announced its EH216 AAV had completed a fully-autonomous—which is to say pilotless—flight carrying two intrepid passengers. Subject flight was conducted along Oita, Japan’s Tanoura Beach under approval granted by Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (MLIT).

Sato Kiichiro, Mayor of Oita, Oita Prefecture, Japan, attended the event and delivered a speech during which he set forth: “Last July, EH216 completed Japan’s first point-to-point trial flight in Oita, receiving overwhelming responses. Today, EH216 takes on the challenge of passenger-carrying flight, and I am very pleased to witness this moment. I hope that today’s passenger-carrying flight-test will accelerate autonomous aerial vehicles to take a further step toward practical use cases, so that this industry full of opportunities could be in full swing.”

EHang chief operating officer Xin Fang added: “Over the past two years, EH216 has achieved one milestone after another in Japan with several rounds of demo and trial flights. This year brought passengers the possibility of riding in the air with this cutting-edge product and technology. All these milestones are inextricably linked to the support and trust of MLIT of Japan, local government departments, and our partners. EHang has also demonstrated the reliability of our AAV products. We will continue working with our partners to promote safe, autonomous, and eco-friendly UAM [Urban Air Mobility] solutions in Japan so as to benefit more people worldwide with our passenger-grade AAVs.”

As evinced by its choice of test locale, EHang enjoys a strong relationship with Japan’s aviation regulatory agency and other industry groups within the Land of the Rising Sun. In 2022, the company undertook and successfully completed numerous demonstration flights across Japan, and continues to partner with Japanese stakeholders for purpose of highlighting the business case and opportunities for the Japanese Urban Air Mobility industry.

FMI: www.ehang.com

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