Chinese firm EHang, which is becoming very well known for its EH216 passenger-carrying drone, has news. The company has received a long-term flight permit allowing it to conduct test flights in Austria’s national airspace. In fact, it’s already carried out a flight.
Have you ever seen those websites that post all the amazing Popular Mechanics articles from back in the day? We went through a phase where we were mildly obsessed with them. Inventions of the future, it seemed, always included variations of the Flying Car. And really, who wouldn’t want a safe way to fly between points A and B (or even C, D, and E)? There was also a certain blend of Art Deco and Science Fiction to the artwork, which was a look we really came to appreciate.
Here: Let’s give a refresher…
A retro future…
We dug up a few old covers to give you a sense of how pervasive the idea of flying cars was. We can picture the editorial meetings now.
Reporter: Hey Boss, any suggestions for my next story?
Editor: Hmmm. How bout a flying car?
Reporter: I just did one two weeks ago.
Editor: Then we’re behind schedule – get on it!
That’s why there are so many pictures around like these:
The future is now
Back then, these concepts were mostly pipe dreams.
Not anymore. The Chinese company, EHang, has been successfully testing its “Autonomous Aerial Vehicle” EH216 for some time now, including manned flights in China and recent tests in South Korea.
Now, the company has announced it has secured a permit allowing it to test that drone in Austrian airspace. In fact, a news release revealed it had already carried out a flight in Austria in November.
This marks the first flight permit for EHang’s AAV within the European Union, and the company hopes it will help demonstrate the coming world of Urban Air Mobility, or UAM.
Through the joint efforts of the Civil Aviation Authority of Austria, the EHang European team, and local partners, the Company has achieved another important regulatory breakthrough in the geographical heart of Europe, enabling more people to experience its safe, green and comfortable UAM solutions. This achievement should enable EHang to accelerate commercial operations in Europe. The trial permit and flight operations will support EHang’s growth in the European Market by demonstrating the benefits of its UAM solutions to regulators, customers, and partners. Autonomous Aerial Vehicles are poised to change the way people and cargo move from point A to point B. Whether for commuting within a large city or traveling from rural to metropolitan areas, aerial travel will dramatically change how mankind perceives distance and travel time. What is a reality today in Asia also comes closer in Europe.
EHang news release
Although the flight permit was issued December 9, EHang carried out an earlier flight in November – marking the company’s first-ever in open EASA airspace. The flight lasted several minutes. And, despite “severe cold and high wind speed” was a success, says the company.
EHang partnered with FACC AG to obtain the flight permit, with tech experts from both firms working together to ensure the planned flights and safety measures would meet national and European standards.