EHang, a pioneer in passenger-grade drones and urban air mobility solutions, is making sure that when it launches its air taxis in Europe, everybody takes notice.
China-headquartered EHang is joining forces with Rome-based architecture firm Giancarlo Zema Design Group to design eco-sustainable drone taxi airports – aka vertiports – in Italy. And the design they have finalized takes our breath away! Just look:
Inspired by the majestic ‘tree of life’
The vertiport is going to be a 30-meter-high structure constructed out of steel and laminated wood. The inspiration for its design comes from the baobab tree, which is native to the African savannah. With this eco-inspired design, the company hopes the vertiports will blend organically into surrounding nature.
If you have seen The Lion King (home to Rafiki the monkey) or Avatar (the Tree of Souls), you’d know that the baobab is iconic. But the tree’s iconic status transcends the boundaries of tribal culture and folklore.
The baobab is known to live for up to 3,000 years, producing one of the most nutrient-dense fruits in the world. Its spongy bark can store thousands of gallons of water and act as a life-saver for bushmen when rains fail. The hollow centers of old baobabs provide shelter to humans and animals alike.
But enough about the tree, let’s get back to the EHang vertiport.
Drone taxi airport or a tourist hub?
EHang’s plan is to integrate the vertiports into the existing transportation infrastructure and have them serve as aerial hubs for tourists. This means each vertiport tower will boast a waiting room for passengers, a café, a 200-square-meter panoramic restaurant, and a connecting lift. Drone taxis will pick up and drop off passengers at the platform set on the roof terrace in order to take them on sightseeing tours.
The cutting-edge photovoltaic panels of the vertiport will generate more than 300 KW of electric power per day. This will ensure the availability of a fully independent and sustainable plug-and-play charging infrastructure for EHang drone taxis.
The autonomous aerial vehicle company’s eco-tourism dreams are not limited to Europe, though. Multiple projects are being planned in Southeast Asia as well. We’ll update you as we find out more!
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