EHang, a pioneer in passenger-grade drones and urban air mobility solutions, has unveiled a new drone taxi, VT-30, geared toward inter-city transportation.
With a flight time of up to 100 minutes, the drone taxi is designed to carry up to two passengers. We are also being told that the long-range flagship product can cover a distance of more than 186 miles (300 km) on a single charge.
EHang says the VT-30 is fully aligned with the company’s principles of green travel, offering the benefits of eco-friendliness, zero emissions, and low noise. The drone taxi’s focus will be on travel among city clusters, such as the Greater Bay Area of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao in South China.
In terms of product development, EHang has already tested VT-30’s vertical take-off and landing and power systems. Now, other tests and optimizations under different environmental conditions are being conducted to improve the product’s safety and stability.
Hybrid, intelligent air mobility solution
The structure of VT-30 is being described as “distinctive,” enabling the drone taxi to both enjoy the advantages of vertical take-off and landing as well as satisfying the need for longer distance and flight time. A statement by the company explains:
VT-30 has a streamlined fuselage with a combined lifting rudder surface at the tail. Equipped with eight propellers on both sides, it has a pair of fixed wings, and a propeller at the rear, which are designed to achieve a maximum balance of hybrid lift and push. Moreover, its tri-redundancy fly-by-wire control system can be flexibly altered into multiple modes, implying a much higher safety level for the aircraft.
The founder-chairman and CEO of EHang, Huazhi Hu, points out that the newly revealed VT-30 will complement the company’s existing drone taxi EH216 – a product focusing on intra-city air mobility:
Our passenger-grade AAV EH216 is already fully equipped to travel in the cities with its light weighted and streamlined structure. And the launch of the VT-30 provides a powerful complement to the inter-city air traffic network by meeting needs for covering longer distances.
Detailing that the two products will allow EHang to develop a service-oriented operations strategy moving forward, Hu underlines the need to improve the safety, duration, and capacity for both cargo delivery drones and passenger-grade drone taxis:
We will work continuously to obtain regulatory certification for our various autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) products, including the VT-30, and provide a more convenient and efficient public urban air mobility operational service.
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