EHang to participate in European Union projects and help integrate unmanned aerial systems into urban airspace

EHang has joined two Euro­pean Union projects which aim to inte­grate unmanned aer­i­al vehi­cles into urban air­spaces, includ­ing one which aims to use the tech­nol­o­gy to ensure health­care is acces­si­ble to every­one liv­ing in its mem­ber states.

The Chi­nese firm is the only eVTOL air­craft devel­op­er in the SAFIR-Med project, a research and inno­va­tion ini­tia­tive to pro­mote the use of unmanned avi­a­tion across the Euro­pean Union.

SAFIR-Med, which stands for ‘Safe and Flex­i­ble Inte­gra­tion of Advanced U‑Space Ser­vices for Med­ical Air Mobil­i­ty’ has select­ed 17 renowned part­ners from eight coun­tries and is sup­port­ed by eight cross-indus­try advi­so­ry board mem­bers includ­ing the Euro­pean Avi­a­tion Safe­ty Agency (EASA) and The Red Cross. 

EHang will use its flag­ship two-seat aer­i­al autonomous vehi­cle (AAV), the EH216, and its Fal­con medi­um-sized AAV to trans­port med­ical sup­plies in urban envi­ron­ments. 

The demon­stra­tions will take place in col­lab­o­ra­tion with hos­pi­tals and med­ical spaces in Aachen in Ger­many, Antwerp in Bel­gium and Heerlen and Maas­tricht in the Nether­lands. The project results will then be fur­ther demon­strat­ed in two addi­tion­al loca­tions in Europe — Athens in Greece and Prague, Czech Repub­lic. Pri­or to the oper­a­tional envi­ron­ment demon­stra­tions, a de-risk­ing exer­cise will take place at the DronePort BVLOS test-facil­i­ty in Bel­gium.

With­in two years, the project intends to demon­strate advanced U‑Space ser­vices enabling the high­est pos­si­ble oper­a­tional safe­ty lev­el. These include detect-and-avoid as a ser­vice, dynam­ic geofenc­ing and air traf­fic pri­ori­ti­sa­tion rules.

Addi­tion­al­ly, EHang is now also part of Euro­pean Union’s ‘GOF 2.0 Inte­grat­ed Urban Air­space Val­i­da­tion” project, which is a fol­low-up to the SESAR JU GOF U‑space project and focused on devel­op­ing the safe, secure, and sus­tain­able inte­gra­tion of unmanned aer­i­al vehi­cle (UAV) oper­a­tions in urban air­space.  

SESAR JU GOF 2.0 was ini­ti­at­ed in Jan­u­ary 2021 to demon­strate the com­pat­i­bil­i­ty of exist­ing Air Traf­fic Man­age­ment (ATM) and U‑space sys­tems and ser­vices. 

The project intends to show safe inte­gra­tion of Unmanned Aer­i­al Sys­tems (UAS), eVTOLs, and manned oper­a­tions in a uni­fied, dense urban air­space. A planned series of demon­stra­tions in next two years will include high­ly auto­mat­ed real time sep­a­ra­tion and net­works for air-ground com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

As one of the 13 con­sor­tium mem­bers and the lead­ing eVTOL air­craft devel­op­er, EHang is expect­ed to ensure safe flight oper­a­tions in all degrees of air­space in order to pro­vide fair and effi­cient access to shared air­space.

The com­pa­ny aims to estab­lish a com­pre­hen­sive urban air mobil­i­ty ecosys­tem includ­ing infra­struc­ture, soft­ware and sup­port­ing ser­vice sys­tems, which it says match­es the mis­sion of the GOF 2.0 project to enable cost-effec­tive oper­a­tions of autonomous and semi-autonomous UAVs Beyond Visu­al Line of Sight (BVLOS) in shared air­space.  

EHang added that it believes its AAVs will be grad­u­al­ly accept­ed for autonomous air taxi ser­vices by Air Nav­i­ga­tion Ser­vice Providers (ANSPs), air­space users, reg­u­la­to­ry author­i­ties, and ulti­mate­ly the fly­ing pub­lic.

Par­tic­i­pa­tion in these two project marks anoth­er mile­stone for EHang in Europe fol­low­ing two major UAM pro­grammes — the AMU-LED project sup­port­ed by the Euro­pean Union and the Re.Invent Air Mobil­i­ty ini­tia­tive launched in the Paris Region, France.

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Jason Pritchard

Jason Pritchard is the Editor of eVTOL Insights. He holds a BA from Leicester's De Montfort University and has worked in Journalism and Public Relations for more than a decade. Outside of work, Jason enjoys playing and watching football and golf. He also has a keen interest in Ancient Egypt.

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