Israel: EHang 216 AAV Flies Over Jerusalem For First Time

An EHang 216 Pas­sen­ger Autonomous Aer­i­al Vehi­cle (AAV) flew over Jerusalem, Israel, for the first time under the guid­ance of oper­a­tor Dronery, a sub­sidiary of Israeli drone deliv­ery fleet oper­a­tor Can­do Drones, reports The tri­al took place last week where the eVTOL took off from Jerusalem’s Hadas­sah Ein Kerem Hos­pi­tal.

Dur­ing the demon­stra­tion, which is part of a NIS 60 mil­lion (USD15.7 mil­lion) two-year gov­ern­ment-led pilot project, also known as the Israel Nation­al Drone Ini­tia­tive (INDI), the AAV flew over the hills of the city and land­ed back at the med­ical cen­tre after less than half an hour.

The arti­cle explains, “The aim of the project is to fly pas­sen­gers and heavy car­go from one place to anoth­er and relieve traf­fic con­ges­tion on Israel’s busy roads by using drones, as well as pro­vide com­mer­cial and pub­lic ser­vices, in par­tic­u­lar in life-sav­ing mis­sions in emer­gency sce­nar­ios such as earth­quakes with mass casu­al­ties, and for urgent med­ical sup­plies and tests.”

Daniel­la Partem, Senior Direc­tor at the Israel Inno­va­tion Author­i­ty, com­ment­ed, “What we’re look­ing at here is how Israel’s Nation­al Drone Ini­tia­tive is expand­ing its scope to move beyond trans­port­ing pack­ages to trans­port­ing human beings. We are look­ing to improve the eco­nom­ic via­bil­i­ty of this mod­el and advance con­nec­tiv­i­ty in urban areas and fur­ther afield around the world.”

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INDI was estab­lished in 2019 to cre­ate a nation­al drone net­work to lay the ground­work for drone deliv­er­ies across Israel, togeth­er with reg­u­la­tors and pri­vate com­pa­nies. Launched in June, as part of the sec­ond phase, 11 drone oper­at­ing and deliv­ery com­pa­nies are involved in tests and exper­i­men­tal flights across Israel.

A Tweet From June

The ini­tia­tive is a col­lab­o­ra­tion between gov­ern­ment enti­ties led by the Trans­porta­tion Min­istry, the Israel Inno­va­tion Author­i­ty, Ayalon High­ways Ltd and the Civ­il Avi­a­tion Author­i­ty of Israel (CAAI).

The autonomous EH216 air­craft can car­ry a total of up to 551 lbs fly­ing a dis­tance of some 18 miles, using its intel­li­gent com­mand-and-con­trol sys­tem. The test flight includ­ed real-time video trans­mis­sion to con­trol cen­tres and emer­gency response teams.

Yoeli Or, CEO of Can­do, remarked, “Fly­ing the aer­i­al taxi with­in an urban area as com­plex as the Hadas­sah Med­ical Cen­tre is a prac­ti­cal real­i­sa­tion of the Trans­porta­tion Ministry’s belief in smart trans­porta­tion.” He con­tin­ued, “Can­do and Dronery are the first in Israel to bring and fly heavy drones capa­ble of fly­ing sig­nif­i­cant dis­tances and car­ry­ing over 200 kilo­grams.” Adding, “This is a break­through.”

Yoeli Or Next to an EHang Fire­fight­ing AAV

Dur­ing a tri­al in June, the Pardes Han­na-based start­up, AIR, flew its AIR ONE eVTOL two-seater air­craft, which can car­ry a total pay­load of up to 485 lbs for a dis­tance of up to 99.4 miles. It has col­lapsi­ble wings for easy park­ing and can take off from or land on any flat sur­face and is suit­able as an every­day alter­na­tive for short-dis­tance com­mut­ing in the sky.

Oth­er Israeli com­pa­nies involved in the INDI project are Air­wayz Drones, a provider of AI-based sys­tems for the smart man­age­ment of drone fleets; High Lan­der, a devel­op­er of an uncrewed traf­fic man­age­ment sys­tem (UTM) for drones; and Robot­i­can, a devel­op­er of ground and air-based mobile autonomous robot­ic sys­tems.

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(Images: Dronery)

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