Air Taxi Ehang obtains operational permit for autonomous air taxi test in Norway
EHang has obtained an operational flight permit from Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Norway for long-term flight testing of its autonomous air taxi EHang 216. The company comments that this lays the foundation for the future of urban air mobility operations in other European countries as well.
EHang, headquartered in Guangzhou, China, develops and manufactures autonomous aerial vehicles. Back in 2016, the company released what it claimed was the world's first-ever autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV), EHang 184. Two years later, the company presented the Ehang 216, developed based on its predecessor Ehang 184.
A low-altitude, high-power, two-seater, autonomous aircraft
The EHang 216 AAV is a low-altitude, high-power, autonomous aircraft made using carbon composite material and metals to achieve the required strength-to-weight ratio. The length of the aircraft is 5.61 meters, the height measures 1.76 meters, and its curb weight is modest 360 kilos.
Despite its compact construction, Ehang 216 can accommodate up to two passengers with sufficient legroom and baggage space.
EHang granted 'Operational Flight Permit' from Norway CAA
In the beginning of March, EHang obtained an operational flight permit for its AVV EHang 216 from the Civil Aviation Authority of Norway (CAA Norway). Covered with a long strip of land with an abundance of sparsely populated areas and free airspace, CAA Norway commented that it believes that Norway's geographic conditions suit the testing of unmanned aircraft and air taxis well.
Bente Heggedal, the Head of section for unmanned aviation, CAA Norway, commented: "EHang is an exciting and forward-looking project that shows the rapid development of UAM and AAV technology by today. The autonomous passenger aircraft of the future can contribute to more efficient transport, particularly in urban areas, and the electric models are a great contribution to the green shift."
With the goal of eventually certifying the two-seat AAV, EHang plans to conduct test flights out of the Elvenes airport with a local customer. Although EHang has done over 1,000 test flights and demonstrations within China, this is the first such authorization the company has received in Europe. In a press release, EHang wrote that this lays "a solid foundation for the future urban air mobility operations (UAM) in other EU countries."
"In the past two years, we have established strategic partnerships with valuable European partners such as Vodafone, FACC and the ProSiebenSat.1 Group. We expect to work with more strategic partners and help them with our safe, autonomous, and eco-friendly air mobility solutions", said Hu Huazhi, Founder, Chairman and CEO of EHang.
Ehang 216 AAV propulsion and performance details
EHang's newest two-seater AAV is powered by 16 electric motors that are connected to 16 propeller blades in coaxial double-baled design. The aircraft enables a cruise speed of up to 130 km/h and a maximum flight range of 35 kilometers.
The aircraft follows an inverted U-flight path to reduce the need for excess maneuvers and has a minimum flight duration of 30 minutes.
Curious to get a view of the EHang 216 interior and get a better feel for how it would be to take a seat and fly over your seat in the autonomous aircraft? Have a look at the view below:
This article was first published at MES Insights.