China’s EHang (NASDAQ:EH) has launched a new electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vertiport and maintenance facility in China’s urban air mobility (UAM) test city, Guangzhou.
The new hub—named the 5G Intelligent Air Mobility Experience Center—includes rooftop takeoff and landing capability for automated aerial vehicles (AAV) as well as a hangar for charging batteries and other required maintenance. The project is part of the city’s developing “intelligent air mobility ecosystem.”
“Guangzhou is EHang’s first global urban air mobility pilot city and the 5G Intelligent Air Mobility Experience Center has become the latest operation spot under the 100 Air Mobility Routes Initiative,” said EHang founder and CEO Huazhi Hu in a statement released December 29.
“We will use the world’s leading AAV technologies and command-and-control system to provide intelligent, comprehensive solutions for urban air mobility and smart city management in Guangzhou. We expect to build Guangzhou into a model city for UAM and have plans to extend it to more cities across the country and worldwide.”
The venture was launched in partnership with Guangzhou Development District Communications Investment Group (GDDCI).
“Several operational flight routes have been planned and tested” for passenger transportation, aerial sightseeing, and aerial logistics, in the “near future,” the statement said.
‘Smart City’ Applications
The 5G hub also will be used to enable trial operations for “smart city” management applications that use internet connectivity to link eVTOLs with communications infrastructure embedded throughout the area.
“By leveraging the 5G Intelligent Air Mobility Experience Center, we will develop an intelligent air mobility ecosystem integrating the hardware, software, takeoff, and landing platform and operation services in Huangpu district,” said Chengjiu Zhou, general manager of GDDCI.
First and Last Legs
Also, the new facility offers passengers access to transportation for the first and last legs of their journeys. It includes an “automatic guided vehicle parking garage,” which provides a convenient infrastructure for a “seamless transfer experience” from eVTOL to cars … or from cars to eVTOLs.
The hub is designed to accommodate multiple eVTOL aircraft models, including EHang’s two-seat, EH216, which uses eight arms outfitted with 16 propellers. The AAV will allow anyone to fly simply by touching a GPS screen to create and execute a flight plan.