Autonomous Aerial Vehicle Manufacturer EHang Lands First Order for Its Long-Range VT-30

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Chinese-based aerial vehicle manufacturer EHang introduced the world to its AAVs (autonomous aerial vehicles) five years ago when it unveiled its first EHang 184 autonomous passenger drone. Since then, other models have been advertised and now the company managed to secure the first order for its VT-30 long-range aircraft. The deal, which was sealed right before Christmas, represents an important milestone in the company’s journey to develop a presence in Japan’s urban air mobility market. Along with its Japanese partners, Okayama Kurashiki Mizushima Aero & Space Industry Cluster Study Group (MASC), EHang plans to further explore use cases for both its VT-30 long-range electric passenger-grade AAV, as well as its EH216 dual-seat aircraft, as announced by the company. EHang successfully offered a recent demonstration of its EH216, with the tests being conducted in Fukushima and Okayama, Japan. The demonstrations simulated an emergency rescue in extreme weather with strong winds up to 27.5m/s (61.5 miles per hour). The aircraft also carried a 60 kg (132 lb) payload, although its maximum payload is 220 kg (485 lb). This autonomous aerial vehicle claims a range of up to 35 km (21.7 miles) with maximum payload and a top speed of 130 kph (80.7 mph). The VT-30, on the other hand, is designed as a long-range electric two-seater that can work both as a VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) aircraft and a small plane. It can cover distances of up to 300 km (186 miles). Its electronic interface lets you switch between different operating modes. Speaking about EHang’s goals and its products, Narisawa Koichi, Counselor of Civil Aviation Bureau at Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism in Japan, said that AAVs have always been expected to be used in the scenarios of traveling on outlying islands and sparsely populated areas, for life rescue and material support in disasters. Hashimoto Gaku, member of the Japan House of Representatives, also added that in the near future, EHang’s aircraft would make a leap in the practical field of Japan.  You can watch the flight demonstration of the EH216 in the video below.