Wednesday, July 24, 2024

EHang’s Pilotless Air Taxi Completes Maiden Autonomous Flight in Saudi Arabia

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A pilotless air taxi developed by Chinese eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) vehicle manufacturer EHang Holdings has successfully completed its first autonomous flight in Saudi Arabia. The EHang vehicle, known as EH216-S, flew in Mecca in collaboration with Front End Limited Company, a Saudi company serving various industries.

EHang’s presence in Saudi Arabia is supported by the country’s General Authority of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Transport and Logistics Services, Ministry of Hajj, and Ministry of Interior. This milestone flight represents a significant step in EHang’s internationalization efforts and highlights the potential for its pilotless eVTOL products in the Middle Eastern market.

See also: Ehang Conducts Groundbreaking Passenger Flight Demo of its EH216-S eVTOL in the UAE

Huazhi Hu, founder and CEO of EHang, expressed enthusiasm about the achievement, stating, “This debut flight of the EH216-S pilotless eVTOL in Saudi Arabia marks a significant milestone in EHang’s ongoing internationalization and an important step forward in propelling global advanced UAM reform, showcasing the potential of our pilotless eVTOL products and solutions for widespread adoption in the Middle Eastern market.”

EHang’s recent deal with Xishan Tourism involves the sale of 50 electric aerial vehicles (EAV) for $15 million. Additionally, Xishan Tourism has agreed to purchase an additional 450 EAVs over the next two years for aerial tourism and passenger transportation.

See also: EHang and Greater Bay Technology Team Up for Rapid Charging System for eVTOLs, Targeting 10-Minute 30-80% Charge

Prior to the Saudi Arabia flight, EHang conducted its first passenger demonstration ride in Abu Dhabi. The EAV 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. This followed demonstrations of the EAV without passengers at the DriftX mobility expo in Abu Dhabi.

EHang has also been actively engaging in partnerships and collaborations to further advance its technology and presence in the market. The company joined the Smart and Autonomous Vehicle Industries Cluster in Abu Dhabi and partnered with Wings Logistics Hub, a passenger eVTOL subsidiary of Technology Holding Company. EHang is also collaborating with the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) for EAV development in the UAE.

See also: Ehang Establishes First UAM Center in Japan, Demonstrates EH216-S eVTOL

EHang’s EAVs are designed for quick charging, with charging times expected to take fewer than 10 minutes to charge from 30% to 80%. The company recently received the Production Certificate (PC) for its EH216-S from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), allowing for mass production.

In addition to its activities in the Middle East, EHang conducted a demonstration flight of its pilotless flying vehicle in Latin America, specifically at the Reserva Conchal Resort in Costa Rica. The company has also demonstrated the capability to fly a group of 12 EAVs together in China.

The ultimate goal of the flying vehicles industry is to develop EAVs that can operate autonomously, with no crew onboard. While this vision aligns with the long-term objectives of some EAV makers, including EHang, regulatory frameworks such as those outlined by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the U.S. do not currently include plans for crewless aerial vehicles.

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