Autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) technology platform company EHang has announced the first passenger-grade AAV to have completed beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) trial flights in Estonian airspace.
The trial flights for airport transport and parcel delivery were performed under the European Union’s GOF 2.0 Integrated Urban Airspace Validation (GOF 2.0) project.
During the live trials, the EHang 216 flew from Tartu Airport to the Estonian Aviation Museum, with no passengers onboard, to demonstrate the uses cases and scenarios of eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) intra-urban and peri-urban flights.
Separately, the EHang Falcon logistics model completed a parcel delivery flight from Tartu Airport to a cargo terminal at the Estonian Aviation Museum, to demonstrate the uses cases and scenarios of automated parcel delivery drones operating at low level.
These trial flights are among the first wave of trials in the two-year GOF 2.0 project, with a focus on entry to and exit from defined airspaces. The trials demonstrate how manned and unmanned aviation can enter and leave various types of airspace, such as controlled/uncontrolled airspace and U-space airspace.
U-space creates and harmonises the conditions needed for manned and unmanned aircraft to operate safely, to prevent collisions between drones and other aircraft, and to mitigate the risks of drone traffic on the ground.
To date, EHang reports it has conducted multiple trial and demo flights of its passenger-grade AAVs in 10 countries across Asia, Europe, and North America.
The company said it plans to be further involved in GOF 2.0 and to conduct more trial flights in Europe to demonstrate the validity, safety, security and sustainability of unmanned aerial systems and manned operations in a unified, dense urban airspace using existing ATM and U-space services and systems.
The GOF 2.0 Integrated Urban Airspace VLD (GOF 2.0) project is designed to safely, securely, and sustainably demonstrate operational validity of serving combined unmanned aircraft systems, eVTOL and manned operations in a unified, dense urban airspace using current air traffic managment and U-space services and systems.
EHang provides customers in various industries with AAV products and commercial solutions: air mobility (including passenger transportation and logistics); smart city management; and aerial media solutions.