Chinese company EHang, a pioneer in passenger-grade drones and urban air mobility solutions, has announced that its flagship electric air taxi, EHang 216, and delivery drone, Falcon, have successfully completed Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) trial flights for airport transport and parcel delivery in Estonia.
The test flights were undertaken as part of the European Union’s GOF 2.0 Integrated Urban Airspace Validation project that focuses on safe, autonomous, and eco-friendly urban air mobility, as well as the integration of drones and air taxis into manned operations with air traffic management and U-space services. As such, EHang was issued a special permit for these flights.
Incidentally, this is the first time a passenger-grade drone has conducted BVLOS flights in Estonian airspace.
During the live trials, the EHang 216 air taxi performed a flight mission of a VIP passenger transport scenario from the Tartu Airport to the Estonian Aviation Museum – though without any passenger on board.
Meanwhile, the Falcon drone completed a flight mission of parcel delivery from the Tartu Airport to a cargo terminal to showcase the uses cases and scenarios of automated parcel delivery drones operating at a low altitude. Watch here:
It’s worth noting that, to date, EHang has conducted multiple trials and demo flights for its passenger-grade drones in 10 countries across Asia, Europe, and North America.
The company says it plans to conduct more trial flights in Europe to demonstrate the validity, safety, security, and sustainability of crewed and uncrewed operations in a unified, dense urban airspace using existing air traffic management and U-space services and systems.
The European Union’s GOF 2.0 project is expected to be an important enabler for the development of the drone industry, aiming to deliver the technical components (services, software, competencies, practices) required to cost-efficiently operate BVLOS autonomous and semi-autonomous aerial vehicles in urban low-level shared airspace.
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