Leading autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) manufacturer EHang has unveiled its new, fully integrated 5G flight center in the Chinese city Guangzhou, from which it will trial air taxi and other urban air mobility (UAM) services awaiting their commercial launch in coming months.
Dubbed the 5G Intelligent Air Mobility Experience Center, the facility was specially designed and developed with all infrastructure necessary for EHang AAV operation in Guangzhou, where the company will participate in UAM trial flights. The structure is the result of a joint venture between EHang and the Guangzhou Development District Communications Investment Group Co., which is seeking to make the metropolis a leader in next-generation aerial transportation of people and goods.
The 5G Intelligent Air Mobility Experience Center encompasses around 2,000 square meters, and is roofed by a fully equipped vertiport for AAV takeoff and landings. It also houses a hangar for rapid recharging and maintenance of craft, and features a futuristic automatic guided vehicle parking garage, which EHang says will provide passengers seamless conveyance between the ground and air transportation legs of their journeys.
According to a company announcement, EHang AAVs will use the center to test several autonomous flight routes being mapped around the city for simulated passenger transport, aerial sightseeing, air logistics, and other UAM activity across Guangzhou.
EHang says the project fits within its 100 Air Mobility Routes Initiative, which seeks to build infrastructure across Chinese cities catering to UAM services – an effort that officials in Guangzhou have embraced.
“By leveraging the 5G Intelligent Air Mobility Experience Center, we will develop an intelligent air mobility ecosystem integrating the hardware, software, takeoff and landing platform, and operation services in Huangpu district,” said Chengjiu Zhou, general manager of Guangzhou Development District Communications Investment Group Co.
The facility will function using a 5G telecommunication network, and incorporates command-and-control system platform that will enable trial flights of EHang EH216, Falcon B, and other AAVs. It also includes smart city management applications and a range of tech necessary to launch the same kind of UAM testing EHang has been laying the groundwork for in other Chinese cities.
“Guangzhou is EHang’s first global urban air mobility pilot city and the 5G Intelligent Air Mobility Experience Center has become the latest operation spot under the 100 Air Mobility Routes Initiative,” said EHang founder and CEO, Huazhi Hu. “We will use the world’s leading AAV technologies and command-and-control system to provide intelligent, comprehensive solutions for urban air mobility and smart city management in Guangzhou. We expect to build Guangzhou into a model city for UAM and have plans to extend it to more cities across the country and worldwide.”