China’s leading developer of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) planes for air taxi operation, EHang, is broadening its work with authorities in Europe to help usher in urban air mobility (UAM) operating systems and services.
EHang announced it will be participating in the European Union-backed project testing the use and effectiveness of the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) in UAM activities. As part of that work toward developing reliable eVTOL traffic management systems in Europe, EHang said it will be operating its EH216 air taxi craft during trials held at Lleida-Alguaire Airport, a major facility about 100 km west of Barcelona.
Those will fall under the aegis of the Satellite Based Augmentation System Adoption in Multicopter VTOL Aircraft (SAMVA) program – another of the separate but linked efforts all working on various aspects of building UAM air traffic systems for eVTOL craft like EHang’s air taxis.
One element of that is the continued development of EGNOS to further refine and improve global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) like the well-known GPS, and the Galileo variant operated in Europe. The objective of EGNOS is to monitor the accuracy of positions provided by those GNSS, and tweak data as needed to ensure accuracy.
The SAMVA initiative is linked to that by exploring ways EGNOS can be used to facilitate the safe operation of UAM aircraft across Europe, including the kind of air taxis EHang will be flying in the trials.
In addition to preparing the introduction of both piloted and automated passenger aerial transportation, SAMVA will test ways to establish a broader U-Space air traffic system that can orchestrate flights of other eVTOL aircraft like delivery drones.
As part of those trials involving air traffic, aerospace, private business, and regulator participants from across Europe, the new SAMVA activity will put the GNSS-enhancing capacities of EGNOS to work from an operation center EHang will set up at the Lleida-Alguaire Airport for its EH216 air taxi.
“The SAMVA project will unleash EGNOS capabilities aboard EHang’s EH216… to provide precise and integral navigation guidance and support U-Space airspace integration,” said Victoria Jing Xiang, EHang’s chief operating officer for Europe and Latin America. “Our participation in this project reflects the meaningful progress we’ve made overseas with our strong industry-leading technologies as our global footprint expands.”
Last month EHang participated in Europe’s “Air Mobility Urban – Large Experimental Demonstration” project, one of the EU’s largest programs to feature, test, and advance eVTOL air taxi and UAM services toward launch.