Published on April 28th, 2019 | by Nicolas Zart0
eHang Shows Dazzled Public Its Autonomous eVTOL Aircraft
April 28th, 2019 by Nicolas Zart
eHang has come a long way (pun withheld) since we first covered the company, and it is showing prospective clients what an electric vertical take-off & landing (eVTOL) autonomous aircraft looks like — the eHang 216 Autonomous Aerial Vehicle (AAV). eHang just showed off the eVTOL aircraft at the General Arena in Vienna as part of the 4GAMECHANGERS Festival.
True autonomous (AV) air taxis are right around the corner and today’s battery technology is just enough to let these dreams take off — for more than just testing. And although this might still sound like science fiction for many, there is a major competition developing, a budding industry of electric air taxi startups.
Although the eHang 216 is not yet certified, it is in the process of getting certified, and in the meantime going on demonstrations flights in very controlled environments. The eVTOL is designed to let anyone fly simply by using its GPS screen and intuitively executing a flight plan.
So far, Austrian media giant ProSiebenSat.1 and FACC, an aviation company, are set to start producing eHang AAVs in Austria next year. We look forward to hearing more on this of the Atlantic and also perhaps see it up in Austria as soon as they are manufactured.
As time goes by, more seems to indicate that eVTOL aircraft can be very efficient with just today’s battery energy density. To date, eHang says it has tested its eVTOL for thousands of unmanned flight hours in China. It is slowly becoming a leader in the race to make autonomous transportation part of our future urban air mobility (UAM) a reality.
But with convenience and practicality highlighted as benefits from the beginning, and efficiency increasingly matching up with battery energy density and VTOL demands, creating certification standards will be the next big obstacles. Unmanned traffic management (UTM) infrastructure is slowly getting worked out. But finding a system that can not only support these self-flying vehicles we are seeing today is one thing — the system also needs to take into consideration designs, features, and systems not yet conceived or developed.
So far, the public is eager to see such technology become part of their daily lives.
eHang is one of those companies that will be remembered as one of the first to get on the market. It has an eVTOL aircraft that already works and will only get better.