- Government signed a deal with EHang to launch its first urban air mobility pilot city programme
- EHang is a Chinese company that operates autonomous passenger and freight low-altitude vehicles
Guangzhou has been chosen as the host city to pilot EHang’s air taxis. EHang will build its very first operational network of air taxis and transport in the near future after an agreement was signed with the government of Guangzhou.
At the beginning of the year, China’s Civil Aviation Administration chose Ehang as the only pilot company to develop autonomous flying passenger vehicle services.
Besides proving that low-altitude autonomous flying passenger vehicles will work, the pilot is seeking to prove that a network of autonomous vehicles can be controlled and monitored by a central traffic management hub. The hub will be developed by Ehang and the Guangzhou government. They will also work together to develop the infrastructure necessary for the network to operate effectively.
In its initial stage, the pilot will continue to test the vehicles. Autonomous passenger carrying vehicles built by Ehang, called Ehang 184, have already been tested in Vienna and a few took flight in Guangzhou in 2018. The initial stage of the pilot will test the vertiports needed to support the vehicle’s operation and it will bring in commercial partners.
The benefits of autonomous flying vehicles could be far-reaching in a congested city like Guangzhou. These vehicles could ease the pressure of heavy traffic on the ground that includes bicycles, pedestrians and vehicles.
Guangzhou will open four autopilot routes this year. Should the pilot be a success, aircraft will be allowed to fly within 11 districts by 2021.