The first flying taxis will appear in China

The first flying taxis will appear in China
At the end of last summer, the Chinese company EHang applied for a commercial use certificate for its two-seat EH216-S AAV flying drones, and in mid-October, it was approved. In practice, this means that air taxis with autopilots may very soon begin to operate in the airspace of the Celestial Empire.

What is EH216-S?

This is a 16-motor electric vehicle with a compact capsule including two seats for passengers inside. It is controlled by an autopilot system, but a remote operator controls the movements of the UAV and, if necessary, can take control.

The carrying capacity of the air carrier is 220 kg, the speed can reach 100-135 km/h, take-off and landing are carried out vertically. The ascent is carried out at an altitude of up to 3 km. True, the duration of one flight does not exceed 21 minutes, which is due to the rapid consumption of charge, but the company continues to work in this direction.

EHang EH216-S AAVs

Test flights with and without people

The EH216-S AAV prototype first flew in 2017, and in total, this model has currently completed about 40,000 test flights in China and Japan, both without and with people on board.

The developers especially noted that during testing with human participation, not a single emergency situation has occurred.

Putting air taxis into operation

The exact date and place for putting air taxi into operation has not yet been announced. Perhaps, the company’s owners themselves are not even clearly sure about this information. However, the CEO of EHang has already suggested that in the next 5 years, passenger EH216-S AAVs will become as common as regular taxis are today.

Note that this is the first time the idea of transporting passengers by drones has been approved, but since the company has already entered into contracts for the supply of more than 1,200 devices to Europe, the USA and the countries of Southeast Asia, there is reason to believe that China will not remain alone in this area for long. In addition, it is known that testing of flying taxis is not only carried out by the Chinese startup but also being conducted in the USA, Israel and India.
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