Currently, the world seems to be standing still due to the spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19). Many startups are also struggling with the aftermath of the pandemic. Nevertheless, the work continues on new forms of mobility. The best example of this is the Chinese company EHang, which develops air taxies.
The company has announced that it has entered into a cooperation agreement with the government of the city of Seville, Spain, to execute the first Urban Air Mobility (UAM) pilot program in Spain. In early March, EHang obtained an operational flight permit for its electrically driven two-seat passenger drone EHang 216 from the Norwegian Civil Aviation Authority.
The agreement specifies that EHang will work with the government of Seville to develop urban air mobility, including passenger transportation, air logistics, and command and control platforms for the city.
According to EHang, the permit issued by the civil aviation authority is the first operational flight permit for test flights with the EHang 216 model in Europe. The trial of the eVTOL will be based at Elvenes Airport in the northeastern corner of Norway on the border with Russia. The aim is to carry out flights with local customers for testing and certification. According to the approval authority, the area is thinly populated and is therefore well suited to the project.
“Seville has developed a rich culture over its 2,000 years of history, so we are delighted to collaborate with the Seville government to bring new UAM technology to this ancient city. There are many old, narrow paths in the old town of Seville, which are inaccessible to automobiles. We believe our AAV can be a great solution for the city to relieve traffic congestion and better preserve historic sectors. Furthermore, as a popular tourist city, we hope to open up flying routes for sightseeing so that visitors from around the world can experience the spectacular cityscape of Seville by air,” said Mr. Hu Huazhi, the Founder, Chairman and CEO of EHang in a release.
Specifically, EHang will use the project to collect real-time data on the flight behavior of the model. This data will then be used in the final flight of the air taxi. The EHang 216 is a two-seater with 16 electric motors and propellers, an empty weight of 360 kg and a payload of 260 kg. 1.77 meters high, 5.61 meters wide, the EHang 216 can reach the maximum speed of 160 km/h (99 mph), fly 25 min for a range of 30-40 km (16-22 mi).
Its use is not limited to the transport of people, will be used, for example, to test delivery from point A to point B, or to manage maintenance and inspection of wind farms.
At the beginning of 2020, it also received its first special flight permit from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and then completed its first test flight with the EHang 216 on American soil.