China's Flying Taxi Gets Airworthiness Certificate

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October 30, 2023

Air taxis have been "the next thing" for a few years now, but China has the first official permission to deliver them.

Ehang EH216-S

Ehang is the name of the Chinese company that has the world's first airworthiness certification for an air taxi. It's EH216-S, it runs on electricity, and it can carry 600 pounds in all on a journey of up to 18 miles.

Who's flying the taxi? No one. The air taxi is autonomous, its 16 electric rotors powering the flight at the direction of a computerized command and control center at speed up to 80 miles per hours. Passengers imply climb onboard, pick a destination on a touchscreen, and sit back for the ride. Take off is vertical, and so is landing; and so the air taxi can land on a rooftop or in a parking lot.

The company performed more than 40,000 test flights in a handful of places around the world for seven years before applying to the Civil Aviation Administration of China for the airworthiness certificate. Two years after making that application, the company received permission.

Ehang is a relatively new Guangzhou company that specializes in such vehicles. A previous model of the new taxi launched in Dubai in 2017. Other models include the Ghost, a quadcopter controlled by a smartphone, and Hexacopter, run by a laptop.

Other countries are already in the flying taxi market:

  • Google co-founder Larry Page and the U.S.-based company Kitty Hawk launched such a craft in New Zealand.
  • Germany's Lilium Aviation has worked on a winged car-for-hire and has already completed an unmanned test. 
  • Dubai's Ehang has been in the market for a few years.
  • So has Slovakia, with Aeromobil.
  • One of the participants most familiar to Americans is Terrafugia.

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Social Studies for Kids
copyright 2002–2023
David White

Social Studies for Kids
copyright 2002–2023
David White