EHang Holdings Limited (Nasdaq: EH) announced its EHang 216 two-seater passenger-grade autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) had completed its maiden flight in Korea. “It is Korea’s first time to launch a flight of an autonomous “air taxi” over a densely populated downtown area,” says a company press release. The flight, which took place on November 11, 2020, was part of the “Open the Urban Sky” UAM Seoul Demo event in the center of Seoul. The flight is expected to be followed by a series of trials in several Korean cities.
The demo proves that government bodies around the world recognize EHangs air taxis as a safe mode of future transporation. “The maiden flight was approved by Korea’s MOLIT after obtaining a Special Certificate of Airworthiness (“SAC”) for the EHang 216 AAV, a first SAC ever issued to a passenger-grade AAV,” says the press release.
The Acting Mayor of Seoul, Seo Jeong-hyup said, “The air taxi is a dream of mankind for the future transportation. We are excited that Seoul can host the country’s first domestic demo flight. Seoul is pioneering itself as an innovative hub of the world. Urban air mobility services are drawing keen attentions as an option to alleviate ground traffic congestions with a huge potential for growth. The city government will strive to realize the human dream of safe flights for Seoul citizens and thus support the future industry of Korea.”
The Korea government announced the “Korean Urban Air Mobility (K-UAM) Roadmap” in June 2020. The government projects that commercial passenger drone services will be available as soon as 3 -5 years from now, from 2023 to 2025.
EHang will follow this launch with trial projects “in more locations across Korea for a variety of UAM uses, such as urban passenger transportation, aerial sightseeing, island hopping and aerial logistics.”
EHang Founder, Chairman and CEO, Huazhi Hu said, “We are glad to see the Korean government taking the initiative in planning and implementing urban air mobility in Asia. This pioneering Special Certificate of Airworthiness marks a leap for both parties and builds on our regulatory breakthroughs in China, Europe, and America. We are excited to be the world’s first company to provide safe, comfortable, efficient and eco-friendly urban mobility solutions to Korea. We expect to accelerate UAM development and to expand in the Korea market in the near future.”