EHang targets pilotless aircraft business in Middle East

"We are poised to continue leading the change of urban air mobility in the UAE and beyond,” said EHang CEO Hu. — Bloomberg

GUANGZHOU: EHang Holdings Ltd, one the world’s leading urban air mobility technology companies, will help foster collaboration between the civil aviation authorities of China and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to expedite commercial flights of pilotless aircraft in the Middle East, a senior company executive says.

“After securing approval for demo flights with passengers and conducting the first flight, we are poised to continue leading the change of urban air mobility in the UAE and beyond,” said Hu Huazhi, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of EHang.

Hu made the remarks after the company’s pilotless electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft EH216-S completed its first demo flight with passengers in Abu Dhabi earlier this month. It was the first flight of its kind in the Middle East.

Another autonomous aircraft, the EH216-F – it is designed for high-rise firefighting – and the EH216-L aerial logistics aircraft, made their debut flights in the UAE, showcasing a range of urban air mobility use scenarios for pilotless eVTOL aircraft.

The EH216 series was seen as a transformative solution in addressing urban mobility challenges, such as emissions and congestion, the company said.

The pilotless aircraft features a compact fuselage, high redundancy and intelligent cluster management, enabling safety and efficiency as well as scalable operations, in order to provide safe, autonomous and eco-friendly operations, it said.

“In close coordination with partners and government entities in the UAE, we are actively engaged in the design and establishment of eVTOL vertiports, in preparation for the launch of commercial routes,” Hu said.

The company’s EH216-S has obtained the world’s first type certificate, production certificate and standard airworthiness certificate for passenger-carrying pilotless eVTOL aircraft issued by the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

EHang expanded into the UAE market by joining the Smart and Autonomous Vehicle Industries Cluster and establishing a strategic partnership with Wings Logistics Hub in December.

It further established strategic collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Investment Office, a platform that empowers growth of the private sector, and its local strategic partner Multi Level Group (MLG), a premier fintech and digital transformation solutions provider, in April to drive eVTOL development in the UAE.

The Nasdaq-listed company is looking to set up its regional headquarters in Abu Dhabi to promote business activities with local partners across manufacturing, flight operations, research and development, training and maintenance, repair and overhaul facilities.

The Abu Dhabi office will provide EHang with a comprehensive range of growth-enabling support, including data and information related to establishing and operating a manufacturing and industrial services business in Abu Dhabi, setting up links with the Abu Dhabi ecosystem and international trade opportunities.

The office would continue to work with leading global players to accelerate the adoption of smart and autonomous vehicles across air, land and sea, according to Badr Al-Olama, director-general of the office.

“The collaboration with MLG, and air mobility leaders such as EHang, will play a key role in driving Abu Dhabi’s efforts in promoting eVTOLs to transform the way people and goods are transported and in advancing the future of mobility globally,” said Al-Olama. — China Daily/ANN

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