EHang EH216: First Autonomous Passenger Carrying Flight in Japan

EHang’s EH216 AAV Completes Japan’s First Passenger Carrying Flight Demonstration

by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian M. Crosby

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Autonomous aerial vehicle (“AAV”) leader EHang’s EH216 passenger-grade AAV completed its first passenger-carrying autonomous flight in Japan.

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Notably, this is the nation’s first passenger-carrying flight conducted by an autonomous eVTOL aircraft. With the approval of Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (“MLIT”), the EH216 flew with two passengers and no pilot along the coastline of Tanoura Beach in the city of Oita.

“Last July, EH216 completed its Japan’s first point-to-point trial flight in Oita, receiving overwhelming responses. Today, EH216 takes on the challenge of passenger-carrying flight here, and I am very pleased to witness this moment,” said Oita Mayor Sato Kiichiro. “I hope that today’s passenger-carrying flight test will accelerate autonomous aerial vehicles to take a further step toward practical use cases, so that this industry full of opportunities could be in full swing.”

This year EHang and its partner, the Okayama Kurashiki Mizushima Aero & Space Industry Cluster Study Group (“MASC”), returned to Oita to conduct the EH216’s first passenger-carrying autonomous flight within Japan. This demonstration is anticipated to increase awareness and interest surrounding UAM within Japan and propel the development of its UAM industry.

“EH216 is a leader in the eVTOL field with extensive experience in passenger-carrying flights. This successful flight test of EH216 in Oita Prefecture has shown us the possibilities of experiencing the beauty and pleasure the skies offer without a pilot,” said MASC Chairman Kirino Hiroshi. “We look forward to EH216’s flight tests in more cities, and the future when EH216 can be deployed and applied in Japan.”

“Over the past two years, EH216 has achieved one milestone after another in Japan with several rounds of demo and trial flights. This year brought passengers the possibility of riding in the air with this cutting-edge product and technology. All these milestones are inextricably linked to the support and trust of MLIT of Japan, local government departments, and our partners,” said EHang COO Xin Fang. “EHang has also demonstrated the reliability of our AAV products. We will continue working with our partners to promote safe, autonomous, and eco-friendly UAM solutions in Japan so as to benefit more people worldwide with our passenger-grade AAVs.”

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Ian attended Dominican University of California, where he received a BA in English in 2019. With a lifelong passion for writing and storytelling and a keen interest in technology, he is now contributing to DroneLife as a staff writer.