EHang conducts first autonomous passenger flight over Japan

The electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft flew along the coastline of Tanoura Beach in Oita city, carrying two passengers and without a pilot.

Urban air mobility (UAM) technology platform provider EHang has completed its first passenger-carrying autonomous flight demonstration in Japan.

The electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft (eVTOL), the EH216, flew along the coastline of Tanoura Beach in Oita city.

Autonomous air mobility

In July 2022, EH216 completed Japan’s first eVTOL point-to-point demonstration flight for air mobility in Oita City, Oita Prefecture. EHang and its partner, Okayama Kurashiki Mizushima Aero & Space Industry Cluster Study Group (MASC), revisited Oita to demonstrate the EH216’s first passenger-carrying autonomous flight within Japan, which is expected to further enhance the awareness and interest of UAM in the local community and accelerate the development of the Japanese UAM industry.

The autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) carried two passengers and no pilot and flew under the approval of Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) of Japan.

“I hope that today’s passenger-carrying flight test will accelerate autonomous aerial vehicles to take a further step toward practical use cases, so that this industry full of opportunities could be in full swing,” said Sato Kiichiro, mayor of Oita, Oita Prefecture.

Xin Fang, chief operating officer of EHang, added: “All these milestones are inextricably linked to the support and trust of MLIT of Japan, local government departments, and our partners.

“EHang has also demonstrated the reliability of our AAV products. We will continue working with our partners to promote safe, autonomous, and eco-friendly urban air mobility solutions in Japan so as to benefit more people worldwide with our passenger-grade AAVs.”

The July demo flights, which also flew over Fukuyama City in Hiroshima Prefecture, Sakaide City in Kagawa Prefecture and Amagasaki City in Hyogo Prefecture, marked the 1,000-day countdown to the Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai, which is looking to introduce eVTOL technology to the public and has plans to use eVTOL vehicles for visitor transportation.