It’s been a little while since we dedicated proper time to covering revolutionary eHang and its progress with electric vertical takeoff & landing (eVTOL) aircraft. Besides the blisteringly fast pace of several aircraft developments, the company is readying its eHang 216 autonomous aerial vehicles (AAVs).
eHang Is About To Make World History
eHang surprised me a few years ago when the drone company decided to put a seat in what looked like a bigger version of its drone. Founder and CEO Hu Huazhi has led the company through the development of a few more. Working at a Chinese time pace, the company is readying the launch of the very first eVTOL urban air mobility (UAM) service in Guangzhou, China, this December. eHang wants to become a full-stack UAM solution and will most likely be the first eVTOL aircraft operator in service.
eHang also announced that its “passenger-grade” aircraft found customers not only in Asia but also in Europe and North America. We’ve reached out to the company and are waiting on answers to a few questions we sent them. We do know that the United Therapeutics subsidiary Lung Biotechnology wants to use its eVTOL aircraft to transport organs for human transplants, as per eVTOL.com.
So far, eHang wants to focus on tourism, medical applications, and general transportation. It is working closely with the International Civil Aviation Organization, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, and the Civil Aviation Administration of China. eHang will fly its eHang AVV on regular service in Guangzhou. The AVV denomination stands for Aerial Autonomous Vehicle. eHang not only has AVV but also offers drones.
According to AIN, eHang got its unmanned aircraft system (UAS) safety certificate from the China Academy of Civil Aviation Science and Technology (CAST). This gives the company a Level II certificate for its eHang 216 AAV. It also includes its Falcon drone in a UAS.
eHang confidentially applied for an initial public offering (IPO), according to Bloomberg. It plans to open up 10% to 15% of its shares, although the valuation has not yet been set, according to the sources who are not known nor confirmed at the time of writing. eHang plans to raise as much as $200 million, according to the unidentified sources. According to the same sources, Credit Suisse Group AG and Morgan Stanley are involved. None of the companies nor NASDAQ confirm the story, yet.
The eVTOL Industry Is Taking Off Quicker Than Others
It’s truly mesmerizing to see how far the eVTOL and electric fixed-wing industries have gotten in a few short years. Although companies such as Pipistrel have been making electric airplanes for well over a decade and many startups were working under the news radar a decade ago, the eVTOL industry was met with much suspicion until recently, and even still is by some.
We’re happy to continue covering this wild industry as it takes UAM to the next frontier.
Featured image credit: eHang