Life is amazing in 2023: we have tiny computers with amazing cameras in our pockets; huge, very cheap (or free!) televisions; cars that (sort of) drive themselves, but where are our flying cars and jetpacks? Flying cars are at least in China, or that’s where they will make their first real commercial flights. EHang Holdings said Last week the government issued a certification to begin real tests with passengers in the country.
The company may carry passengers on air tours, which Bloomberg reported will be offered through local partnerships in Xinjiang and Shenzen province. The “type certificate”, issued by the CAAC, China’s aviation authority, means that its E216-S air taxi “fully complies with the safety standards and airworthiness requirements of the CAAC.”
The EH216-S are not flying cars in the sense that some of us grew up expecting: you won’t take off from your driveway and land on a highway to go your last mile or anything like that. The autonomous, battery-powered air taxi looks like a giant remote-controlled drone, only it can transport two people through the air to short destinations.
Bloomberg’The EHang report says that according to EHang, the EH216-S can fly for 25 minutes at approximately 62 mph. The company did not reveal how much its tours will cost. The company demonstrated a version of its flying taxi in the US back in 2020, transporting about 100 people in Raleigh, North Carolina. The company said at the time that it could carry between 500 and 600 pounds of cargo or passengers.
However, without FAA approval, the market is difficult and some companies, such as Kitty Hawk, have pulled out.