(Original title: Pilotless air taxi from China’s Ehang takes flight in the US for the first time)
Netease Technology News January 9, according to foreign media reports, the Chinese drone manufacturer Yihang demonstrated its unmanned electric aircraft for the first time in the United States. On Tuesday afternoon local time, Ehang 216, an all-electric two-seater aircraft owned by Ehang, flew for five minutes over a test runway south of Raleigh, the capital of North Carolina. 100 people watched the flight test demonstration.
This is also the first time that EHang has obtained a flight permit from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and will lay the foundation for EHang to obtain a flight demonstration permit to carry passengers in the near future.
This Ehang 216 is powered by 16 electric rotors and can fly along a predetermined route at a speed of 128 kilometers per hour. According to the company, the electric aircraft weighs about 272 kg and can carry cargo or passengers between 226 kg and 272 kg. But electric planes are still in the early stages of development and are currently mainly used for sightseeing.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation arranged this demonstration event as part of its annual summit. The state also hopes to use this demonstration to attract companies like Ehang.
EHang stated that the company has conducted more than 2,000 test flights in China, Austria, the Netherlands, Qatar, and the UAE. The company recently filed a NASDAQ listing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and intends to issue 100 million US dollars of depositary shares. Yihang finally set the issue price at US$12.50, which is at the low end of the pricing range.
EHang has recently obtained approval from Chinese regulatory agencies to launch commercial air traffic services in Guangzhou. As part of the pilot project, Ehang is working with the Guangzhou government to build an air traffic control center. Ehang said it plans to use pilot projects to test more flight routes and “vertical take-off and landing” airports. The company also plans to deliver low-weight medical supplies, including blood and organs for emergency use.
Dozens of companies, including Ehang, believe that “flying cars” will become a viable urban transportation method in the future. Including drone manufacturers, airlines, ride-hailing companies ehang drones, and even some car manufacturers believe that this will be the case in the future. Although there are still various technical issues and regulatory challenges, the large number of prototypes flying around the world indicates that ehang drones, some form of air taxi service may eventually be realized . (Chenchen)