EHang demonstrated its passenger aircraft during GOF 2.0. (EHang)
The China-based autonomous vehicle maker EHang completed test flights of its passenger grade autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) and drone logistics program during the European Union’s Gulf of Finland (GOF) 2.0 in Estonia, the company announced on Sept. 3.
The GOF 2.0 is focused on integrated urban air mobility (UAM) and the trials in Tartu, Estonia is specifically testing entry to and exit from defined airspaces. The GOF 2.0 tests in Estonia will include automated parcel delivery drones operating at low levels, electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) intra-urban and peri-urban flights, long-endurance drone surveillance flights about 150 m altitude, drone mapping flights, and unexpected helicopter emergency medical services flights.
“The GOF2.0 project will demonstrate the operational validity of combining ATM/U-space services and systems and creating a shared interoperable infrastructure for both manned and unmanned aviation, especially in dense urban environments. The provision of timely, relevant and accurate digital information to all airspace users on a system-wide basis will enable safe and secure management of unified airspace without segregation,” Maria Tamm, project manager at Estonian Air Navigation Services, said in a statement on the GOF 2.0 website. “The outcomes from the GOF2.0 demonstrations will provide a unique opportunity for all stakeholders to gain a better understanding of the current possibilities and challenges when implementing U-space, advancing urban air mobility and moving towards smart and sustainable aviation.”
EHang participated in automated drone delivery tests during GOF 2.0. (EHang)
EHang flew its passenger-grade AAV, EHang 216, in a beyond visual line of sight (BVOS) flight to demonstrate a VIP transport scenario, according to EHang. The aircraft flew from the Tartu Airport to the Estonian Aviation Museum during the trial and did not carry any passengers during the flight.
The EHang 216 has a 220 kg max payload, 35 km range, and can reach speeds up to 130 km per hour, according to the company’s website. EHang has completed test flights of its AAV aircraft in 10 countries.
During another test flight from the Tartu Airport to a cargo terminal at the Estonian Aviation Museum, EHang demonstrated its drone delivery model, Falcon logistics. According to the release, EHang’s drone demonstrated automated delivery capabilities.
The Falcon drone is a multi-rotor aircraft with a 5 kg maximum payload and 19 km range, according to the company’s website. The aircraft can be charged in less than 90 minutes and can fly for 17 minutes at max capacity.
EHang was able to complete the test flights with a special permit granted by the Estonian Transport Administration that extends until the end of 2021.