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HomeNewsUnmanned aerial taxis to take off in Guangzhou – China Daily

Unmanned aerial taxis to take off in Guangzhou – China Daily

The dream of riding in an unmanned aerial taxi is set to become a reality in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, with a local company engaged in the development and operation of electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft expected to obtain operational certification soon.

“We are expecting to receive operational certification this year to make riding in an aerial taxi a reality,” said Wang Zhao, chief operating officer of EHang Holdings, one of the world’s leading urban air mobility companies, which is based in Guangzhou.

The company is now engaged in internal testing for its flying application for the much-anticipated EH 216-S aircraft, according to Wang.

“Once it is officially launched, the prices will be slightly higher than those of ride-hailing services,” he said.

Wang was speaking in Guangzhou, the provincial capital, on Friday at a conference on the promotion of the high-quality development of the low-altitude economy and the acceleration of the construction of a full unmanned transport system.

The system would integrate the operation and regulation of unmanned equipment and infrastructure across sea, land and air applications, including drones, unmanned vehicles, unmanned ships and eVTOL aircraft.

Guangzhou has outlined 20 specific measures aimed at fostering the high-quality development of its low-altitude economy and related industries, including the establishment of a dedicated 10 billion yuan ($1.37 billion) venture capital fund.

In addition to flying taxis, a number of prominent drone companies headquartered in Guangzhou have developed commercial applications in agriculture, firefighting, express delivery and tourism, according to the local government.

The conference outlined 12 application scenarios for the city’s low-altitude economy and full-space unmanned systems: transportation; cultural tourism; logistics delivery; regulatory inspections; agricultural and forestry protection; emergency rescue; unmanned taxis; unmanned buses; unmanned sanitation and cleaning; unmanned heavy truck fleets; unmanned light truck cargo transport; and unmanned shipping.

One hundred takeoff and landing stations will be established across the city by 2027, according to an announcement made during the conference.

Operational certification for EHang aerial taxis would make Guangzhou the first Chinese city to operate commercial unmanned flights, according to Wang.

The company has already obtained the first type certificate — approval of the design of a civil aviation product — production certificate and standard airworthiness certificate for passenger-carrying pilotless eVTOL aircraft issued by the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

The company has launched successful demonstration flights of its eVTOL aircraft in carrying passengers, logistics, smart city management and aerial lighting shows.

The scale of the low-altitude economy in Guangzhou is set to reach 150 billion yuan, according to an implementation plan for its development that was unveiled in May.

“Developing the low-altitude economy and the full-space unmanned system are new quality productive forces for the city to drive high-quality growth,” said Guo Yonghang, Party chief of Guangzhou.

The city will promote research and manufacturing by supporting cooperation between enterprises, universities and research institutions, with acceleration of the opening of low-altitude airspace and the launch of routes in more fields, he said.

“Infrastructure will be built to adapt to a transportation system that integrates air, land, sea and space transportation management,” Guo said.

Guangzhou will also promote open collaboration with other cities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area on the low-altitude economy.

“The establishment of the alliance is conducive to more efficiently organizing the low-altitude economy industry chain, avoiding a large amount of low-level redundant construction and disorderly development, and is of practical significance for the healthy development of the industry in the Bay Area,” said Ding Ning, executive vice-president of the Shenzhen Institute of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics.

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