The Chinese company EHang has the goal of creating and implementing automated passenger and freight low-altitude vehicles. Their initial operational network including air taxis and transports is set to run in Guangzhou. EHang mentioned that Guangzhou – also known as Canton – will be the city to host the starting location for the citywide distribution strategy.
The aim of this initial stage will be to display how low-altitude, rotor-powered air vehicles are an appropriate choice to be utilized in cities. The network of aircraft will be run and observed by a central traffic management system that EHang will establish along with the local Guangzhou government.
EHang was selected at the start of 2019 by China’s Civil Aviation Administration as the only pilot company capable of building automated flying passenger vehicle services. The company has already exhibited flights of their 184 vehicles transporting passengers in Vienna, and they also did several flights in Guangzhou last year.
As well as establishing the air traffic control setup that will make sure the vehicles function safely as a fleet operating above the city, EHang will be collaborating with Guangzhou to form the infrastructure required to run the network. The idea for the pilot is to utilize the beginning phases to carrying on testing the vehicles and the vertiports they’ll need to support the project before working with commercial partners for adequate transportation.
Why this is a better solution to automated cars
The advantage of this type of network will be particularly useful to cities such as Guangzhou where population levels continue to rise, which inevitably result in more traffic. It might also have possible upsides to a system of automated ground vehicles, as cars or other wheeled transportation would still have to deal with regular ground traffic, pedestrians, and cyclists. On the other hand, the low-altitude air above a city is likely to have a lot more free space.