Leading global urban air mobility (UAM) aircraft maker EHang has completed a successful four-city demonstration flight tour in Japan of its EH216 to mark the 1,000 day countdown to Osaka’s Expo 2025, which will serve as a showcase for developing technologies set to transform daily life.
The demonstrations were intended to underline the Chinese manufacturer’s presence in and commitment to Japan as major market for its autonomous craft, and to continue priming the public for Expo 2025 Osaka. The global event’s focus on sustainable, smart city technologies will provide EHang’s EH216 a major opportunity to demonstrate the safe, emission-free utility of UAM transportation for urban centers across the world. Expo 2025 organizers also plan to provide visitors a small taste of that nearing future through limited air taxi services during the event.
In preparation for that, EHang staged a series of flights in and around four Japanese cities – expanding its operational footprint in the country as it did so.
The outings sought to demonstrate the performance of EHang’s EH216 in varied UAM missions, including smart logistics, over-sea sightseeing, and point-to-point transportation that air taxis will provide. The latter two are thought to have been the first of their kind by an electric aircraft in Japan.
“We are very pleased that we were able to conduct demo flights… witnessed by local residents who were very eager to experience the advanced air mobility technology,” said Hiroshi Kirino, chairman of the Japanese consortium that partnered with EHang in the tour. “I feel that we will be able to take a big step forward toward manned flights at the Osaka-Kansai Expo in 2025 from each of the demo flights… (We) will continue to develop use cases for flying vehicles in logistics, tourism, emergency transportation, and disaster response, and will continue to take on the challenges of airborne business, including takeoff and landing sites, in cooperation with the public and private sectors.”
EHang’s opening UAM demo flight was staged July 6, with the final EH216 sortie taking place July 18 to mark the 1,000-day countdown to Expo 2025 Osaka. The first was an oversea simulated sightseeing outing, with the second involving the point-to-point air taxi route. In the third trial, an EH216 flew 80 kg of cargo in a trial logistics transport run, with the last overflying the city of Oita to give spectators a view of how next generation aerial tech will allow commuters to leapfrog clogged streets below.
In addition to extending the list of venues where its EH216s have performed trial UAM flights in Japan, EHang says the recent four-city tour went a long way toward convincing officials and members of the public alike that approaching air taxi and other aerial services will be equally safe and useful to daily life.
“We are very pleased to complete the EH216 demo flight tour.. which has set our footprint in up to six cities across Japan, and laid a solid foundation for our continuous expansion in the Japanese market,” said EHang CEO Hu Huazhi. “With EHang’s first mover advantages and leading expertise in AAV technologies, we expect to have the opportunity to provide EH216 flights for the Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai, and implement EHang’s safe, autonomous and eco-friendly UAM solutions in Japan in the near future.”