Revolutionary passenger-carrying drone flights held in Abu Dhabi

The ability to fly away from traffic is getting closer
  • The race to getting autonomous air taxis off the ground is heating up
  • EHang is looking to head up the UAE market with its eVTOL configurations
  • In May the company successfully flew three of its aircraft in Abu Dhabi

Published on May 9, 2024 at 6:29PM (UTC+4)

Last updated on May 9, 2024 at 6:29PM (UTC+4)

Edited by Tom Wood

EHang is making huge progress in the race to get autonomous flying taxis into the air.

The Chinese eVTOL maker has completed a series of successful demo flights.

It has been working hard to gain a presence in the UAE, where eVTOLs are gaining serious attention.

And with Emirati royals and government members as some of its first passengers, the company has got a good foot in the door.

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There are several massive challenges delaying the take-off of flying vehicles, however, such as air traffic management, noise pollution, and cost.

But this isn’t deterring everyone, with the UK government aiming to implement flying taxis by 2026 and Dubai getting a flying fleet as soon as 2025.

In China, XPeng has already released footage of these aircraft flying around the city and making a river crossing.

And now EHang is entering the UAE market.

The company’s flagship aircraft became the world’s first certified autonomous passenger-carrying eVTOL in October 2023.

This process took three years, 40,000 test flights and validation tests across 65 major countries.

This May, EHang successfully flew three of its autonomous aircraft configurations in Abu Dhabi for the first time.

Its EH216-L model is designed for aerial logistics while the EH216-F is for firefighting.

Both use the same technology and have the same autonomous capabilities as the passenger-carrying eVTOL.

Most exciting for many was the success of the EH216-S, the aircraft designed for transporting humans without a pilot.

Special guests at this first-of-its-kind event included Emirati royalty and government officials.

The aircraft carried a passenger, Mohamed Al Dhaheri, a board member of EHang’s regional strategic partner, who experienced a pilot-free flight.

EHang is working hard to become the top choice in the UAE region, as well as Japan, Latin America, and its home country, China.

Currently, an Urban Air Mobility Center (UAM) is being built in the Shenzhen municipality.

This hub will be geared towards autonomous taxis and should be open for business in 2026.

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