EHang 216 Autonomous Aerial Vehicle EHang Guangzhou, China www.ehang.com/ehang184 EHang is a dominant player in the quadcopter drone market. The company hopes to extend its unmanned electric VTOL technology to manned applications. The EHang 216 is based on the EHang 184, yet it has eight arms instead of four. This allows for the vehicle to be seat two passengers instead of just one. The EHang 216 Autonomous Aerial Vehicle (“AAV”) was first announced in February 2018. Manned and unmanned flight testing was conducted in China in 2017, and a manned flight test with Dutch prince Pieter Christiaan took place at the Amsterdam ArenA in April 2018. In a July 2017 interview for CNBC, EHang co-founder Derrick Xiong stated that “at this moment we are working closely with Dubai and we have actually, together with them, we have done numerous tests, internally. Also, we have basically done a lot of — many, many times — tests with a passenger on it, including the vice-mayor of Guangzhou City in China and also some governors from Dubai as well. We have done a lot of tests and we aim to do the very first public demo very soon this year.” Resources: Search eVTOL News posts Article: Heir and back! Dutch Prince flies into Amsterdam Arena in high-tech autonomous drone-taxi, Daily Mail, April 16, 2018 Article: EHang’s driverless MEGADRONE carries passengers around China …, Daily Mail, Feb. 6, 2018 Article: Air Mobility Bonanza Beckons Electric VTOL Developers, Vertiflite, March 2017 Article: The Demand for On-Demand Mobility, Vertiflite, Jan 2017 Video: EHang 216 Drone Taxi in Arena, Jeronymus80, April 16, 2018 Photo Gallery: A drone-cab, the Ehang 216, presented at the Amsterdam ArenA stadium in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Global Times, April 13, 2018 Tags: EHang, Wingless (Multicopter)
At the Future of Transportation conference in Cologne, Germany, on a panel chaired by VFS Executive Director Mike Hirschberg, Derrick Xiong, co-founder and chief marketing officer of EHang, provided new insights into the company’s Autonomous Aerial Vehicle. Xiong provided updates on the company’s development testing, and revealed that “30 to 40” of the EHang 184 AAVs have been built; the 184 is for one pilot, and has eight propellers on four arms. Xiong also noted that the new two-seater with 16 propellers was being called the “216” and had already made more than 1,000 manned flights. Both aircraft have been tested extensively in Guangzhou, China and Dubai, and that the maximum range that the aircraft has flown to date was 8.8 km (5.5 miles). Xiong also described that EHang had autonomously flown Dutch Prince Pieter Christiaan into the Amsterdam Arena in April and had conducted a flight demonstration in front of the royal family of Denmark in June. 15 photos from a walk-around of the Ehang 184 first prototype exhibited in Cologne is available on the Vertical Flight Society Photo Gallery.
In February 2018, EHANG — a major player in the quadcopter market — revealed a new version of its 184 eVTOL drone with two-seats and twice as many arms and propellers. The new version can carry a total payload of up to 620 lb (280 kg). The company had unveiled the original 184, whose name means “1 passenger, 8 propellers, 4 arms”, in January 2016 at the Consumer Electronics Show. In a video of the 184’s first public flights in Lianyungang city, China, EHANG said that the 40 or so passengers flown so far included Wang Dong, deputy mayor of Guangzhou; EHANG founder and CEO, Huazhi Hu; and Derrick Xiong, EHANG co-founder and chief marketing officer (shown in the photo in the 16-propeller 184). The new version is apparently still named “184” and no further details were revealed (though if the company had used the same naming logic, it would have been designated the “EHANG 2168”). EHANG’s engineers also tested the 184 in a variety of weather conditions, including high heat, heavy fog, night and “during a Category 7 typhoon with gale-force winds.” The company said that its “150 technical engineers have conducted thousands of test flights, including a vertical climbing test reaching up to 300 m [984 ft], a loaded test flight carrying approximately 230 kg [500 lb], a routed test flight covering 15 km [8 nm], and a high-speed cruising test that reached 130 km/h [70 kt].” EHANG said the 184 can carry a single passenger of 220 lb (100 kg) roughly 23 minutes of flight per charge, or up to 10 miles (16 km).
EHang in Dubai The Chinese drone company, EHang, revealed in July that its EHang 184 eVTOL conducted numerous tests for Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), and that many passengers had been flown to date in China and Dubai. This was the first news that EHang had revealed about the flights since the beginning of the year — there has been speculation that the aircraft suffered a mishap of some kind. Testing in China and Dubai is continuing.
EHang 184 Autonomous Aerial Vehicle EHang Guangzhou, China www.ehang.com/ehang184 EHang is a dominant player in the quadcopter drone market. The company hopes to extend its unmanned electric VTOL technology to manned applications. The designation of its EHang 184 single-seat eVTOL means “1 passenger, 8 propellers, 4 arms.” The EHang 184 Autonomous Aerial Vehicle (“AAV”) was initiated by the founder and CEO, Mr. HU Huazhi; in late 2012, he started to design the initial verification model. Manned and unmanned flight testing has been conducted in China in 2015-2017, USA (Nevada) in 2016-2017 and UAE (Dubai), in 2017. In a July 2017 interview for CNBC, EHang co-founder Derrick Xiong stated that “at this moment we are working closely with Dubai and we have actually, together with them, we have done numerous tests, internally. Also, we have basically done a lot of — many, many times — tests with a passenger on it, including the vice-mayor of Guangzhou City in China and also some governors from Dubai as well. We have done a lot of tests and we aim to do the very first public demo very soon this year.” In Feb. 2018, EHang unveiled that it had made a new version, apparently with two-seats named “EHang 216”, that had twice as many arms. The company also reported that the “EHang 184 AAV achieves a series of manned flight tests with up to 40 persons,” including the EHang CEO onboard. Single-Seat EHang 184 Characteristics (Feb. 2017) Resources: Search eVTOL News posts Website: EHang Specs, updated July 5, 2018 Video: EHang 184 AAV Manned Flight Tests, EHang, February 5, 2018 Article: EHang’s driverless MEGADRONE carries passengers around China …, Daily Mail, Feb. 6, 2018 Article: First Test Footage Revealed of EHANG 184 Manned Passenger Drone, EHang, Feb. 6, 2018 EHang Facebook video, Feb. 5, 2018 Article: Air Mobility Bonanza Beckons Electric VTOL Developers, Vertiflite, March 2017 Article: The Demand for On-Demand Mobility, Vertiflite, Jan 2017 Tags: EHang, Wingless (Multicopter)
Wingless (Multicopter) No thruster for cruise – only for lift. Airbus Helicopters CityAirbus Alauda Airspeeder Astro AA360 (“Passenger Drone”) Avianovations Hepard Boeing Cargo Aerial Vehicle Cartivator SkyDrive chAIR Multicopter Dekatone (unnamed) EHang 184 EHang 216 Jetpack Aviation(unnamed) Kármán XK-1 Kenyan Passenger Drone Kitty Hawk Flyer PAV-UL Ultralight PAVX Up Next Skypod Aerospace Skypod Sky-Hopper Swarm Multicopter Volocopter 2X Volocopter VC200 VRCO NeoXCraft Workhorse SureFly Not what you’re looking for? Check out all eVTOL
Aviation Comes to the Consumer at CES 2018 By Mike Hirschberg, AHS International Executive Director Vertiflite, March/April 2018 The Consumer Technology Association’s CES 2018 (formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show) took place Jan. 9–12, 2018, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Key themes at the largest technology exhibition in the world included the promise of 5G, smart cities, smart homes, vehicle technology, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, virtual reality and technologies for consumers’ increasingly connected lives. Well over 170,000 attendees from 150 countries visited some of the nearly 4,000 exhibitors showcasing technologies, spanning more than 2.75 million ft2 (255,000 m2) of exhibit space, the largest in CES history. There were more than two dozen themed exhibit areas on topics such as 3D printing, internet of things infrastructure, self-driving technology and drones. Even NASA exhibited at CES with a sizeable booth explaining the benefits of its aeronautics and astronautics missions. Notably, however, three first-time exhibitors displayed concepts for passenger-carrying electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. Bell Air Taxi Drone maker EHang brought CES to the attention of the aviation world with the debut of its single-seat EHang 184 passenger-carrying octocopter in January 2016, and displayed it again in 2017 (though not this time). Bell Helicopter made its debut this year as the first major helicopter manufacturer to exhibit at CES. The company reported that more than 7,000 attendees, journalists and VIPs put on virtual reality headsets and experienced the Bell Air Taxi virtual concept, with thousands more just visiting the Bell booth. The future of urban air taxi is closer than many people realize,” stated Bell Helicopter’s president and CEO Mitch Snyder. “We believe in the positive impact our design will have on addressing transportation concerns in cities worldwide.” The Bell Air Taxi augmented-reality simulator offered a selection of cross-city day and night trips as possible consumer scenarios. The experience highlighted the opportunities in immersing passengers with the ability to sync into a “fully integrated user experience control center, where they can catch up on world news, hold a video conference call, share documents with other passengers or simply unplug from the noisy world below in a comfortable, relaxing space.” Bell refused to make any comments about the propulsion system, though past graphics suggest that Bell is considering multiple tilting ducted rotors or propellers. Bell Director of Innovation Scott Drennan did acknowledge that the Bell Air Taxi would use hybrid-electric power initially and for longer-range applications, but eventually would be powered solely by batteries once that technology advanced sufficiently. Bell chose CES to unveil the fuselage and passenger experience of its eVTOL air taxi — which it is developing in partnership with Uber’s Elevate initiative — to gain feedback from potential riders. “The four-passenger cabin demonstrates Bell’s view of an on-demand mobility aircraft that focuses on a people-first engineered user experience tailored with an urban air taxi ride,” Bell announced. SureFly Cincinnati, Ohio-based Workhorse Group, a technology transportation company known for its electric-powered delivery and utility vehicles, announced in December that it …
Is 2020 Really Possible? Sidebars to From the Ground Up: Uber Elevate in 2020 Uber said that by the time flight demonstration programs begin in 2020, they will have to validate that they have mitigated the three biggest risks: efficient flights (airspace acceptance), noise (community acceptance) and safety (passenger acceptance). Note that Uber is not funding the development of the aircraft, but is helping to facilitate connections between investors and developers. Once the companies prove their products can operate within the Elevate network and meet the performance and economic requirements, Uber said it would be ready to put its money down and guarantee production volumes and revenues to justify the certification expense. To make the Uber Elevate vision a reality, the flight demonstrations to begin in 2020 will require: Demonstrator aircraft: More than two dozen organizations are currently researching electric and hybrid-electric eVTOL concepts. At least six are currently conducting full-scale flight tests, while several others are completing their aircraft or flying subscale models. Vertiport infrastructure: Uber is working with charging companies like ChargePoint, as well as Hillwood Properties, one of the largest private real estate developers and investors in the US, to establish vertiports at company-owned sites to conduct the tests with distributed nodes around Dallas-Ft. Worth. Similar efforts are underway for Dubai. Airspace: A key aspect of the Elevate ecosystem is the ability to seamlessly operate in Class B airspace. With high-speed, very quiet aircraft, Uber believes eVTOL aircraft will be able to operate in well-defined corridors linking the vertiports, and avoid the airspace restrictions imposed on ad hoc helicopter operations today. Regulations / Certification: The FAA is considering fixed-wing aircraft that take off vertically to be governed under Part 23 as small aircraft. Uber said it hopes that the new eVTOL aircraft can be certified by 2023, but that it has other ways to test the Elevate network before then. In August 2017, the FAA introduced fundamental changes to Part 23 light aircraft certification rules that are designed to facilitate innovation and reduce certification costs. And EASA recently introduced “proportionality” for light aircraft, where manufacturers are allowed to build up to 10 aircraft prior to certification. The FAA is also considering this approach. Pilots or Autonomy: Uber said it plans to fly piloted aircraft for the first five years or so to guarantee safety and develop a database of safe operations in wide-ranging conditions. For this, Uber may need tens of thousands of pilots. The company is working with groups to hire pilots with prior military aviation experience. eVTOL Companies The following electric VTOL aircraft are known to be under development. These include aircraft for a wide range of missions, not just applicable for Uber’s Elevate mission. Winged (updated Aug. 19, 2017) A³ Vahana AirspaceX MOBi Aurora Flight Sciences eVTOL Aurora Flight Sciences LightningStrike Bell Helicopter (unnamed) Carter Aviation/Mooney CarterCopter DeLorean Aerospace DR-7 Flexcraft (unnamed) HopFlyt (unnamed) HoverSurf Drone Taxi R-1 JAXA Hornisse 2B Joby Aviation S4 Lilium Jet Pipistrel (unnamed) Terrafugia TF-X XTI Aircraft Trifan 600 Zee Aero Z-P1 Wingless (updated Aug. 19, 2017) Airbus Helicopters CityAirbus Bartini …
Innovation in the Parisian Summer: Paris Air Show 2017 Report The 52nd International Paris Air Show took place once again at Le Bourget International Airport on June 19-25. Military and civil helicopters were supplemented with innovative approaches to vertical flight. By Ian Frain Vertiflite, Sept-Oct 2017 The aviation industry descended on the beautiful French capital once again over a very hot June, with air temperatures reaching above 95°F (35°C). This year saw not just current rotorcraft, but also future vertical flight innovations, particularly from American, French and Turkish industrial participants. Entente Cordiale The French procurement and technology agency responsible for weapon systems program management — Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA, Directorate General of Armaments) — exhibited rotary-wing assets at the front of the show from all three arms: the Armée de l’Air (air force), Aviation Légère Armée de Terre (ALAT, army aviation) and Marine Nationale (navy). There was a pair of Tigre HAD attack helicopters (formerly designated EC665) present at the show, including one used for the flying demonstration. The Armée de l’Air was represented by its H225M Caracal combat search and rescue (CSAR) helicopter (formerly EC725); the Caracal is expected to remain in service for another decade in the Armée de l’Air. The Marine Nationale had its NH90 NFH (NATO Frigate Helicopter) Caïman in its anti-submarine warfare (ASW) configuration and armed with a torpedo. In addition, HeliDax exhibited its Airbus Helicopters H120 Calliope training helicopter (formerly its EC120B). HeliDax provides rotary-wing flight training to all branches of the French armed forces, plus the French Douanes (Customs) and Sécurité Civile (Civil Defense), and other parapublic agencies. The company is owned 50/50 by INAER Helicopter France and Défense Conseil International (DCI). Further away from the main exhibition was the ALAT NH90 TTH (Tactical Transport Helicopter) Caïman in the NHIndustries chalet. This, along with the Tigre, were the only rotorcraft to perform during the daily flying displays. High-Speed and Unmanned Airbus Innovations Airbus Helicopters exhibited its latest products, which included the H135 Helionix demonstrator, the corporate H130 and the military H145M with various weapons systems. The newest addition to the company’s product line is the VSR700 unmanned rotorcraft. The VSR700 is derived from Hélicoptères Guimbal’s Cabri G2 two-seat light helicopter; hence, the development of the VSR700 is between both Airbus Helicopters and Guimbal. The autonomous flight trials are being carried out with a safety pilot on board. The VSR700 weighs 1,675 lb (760 kg), flies at 100 kt (185 km/h) and is powered by a 155 hp (115 kW) turbocharged diesel engine, giving it an endurance of 10 hours. At the air show, the VSR700 had various mission role kits around it, such as the Thales AESA Flat Panel Surveillance Radar, and an ASW(anti-submarine warfare) payload consisting of the active sonobuoy with its launcher. L-3 Wescam provided an electro-optical MX-15, while the Airbus DeckFinder autolanding system for VTOL UAV ship deck operations was also on display. The true flexibility of this platform is shown with the provision to carry a rescue raft built by Survitec, which can be airdropped …
The following companies are known to be developing electric VTOL aircraft: A³ Vahana aeroG Aviation aG-4 AeroMobil 5.0 Airbus Helicopters CityAirbus AirisOne AirspaceX MOBi Alauda Airspeeder ASTRO/Passenger Drone Aurora Flight Sciences eVTOL Aurora Flight Sciences LightningStrike Autonomous Flight Y6S Avianovations Hepard Bartini Flying Car Bell Air Taxi Boeing Cargo Aerial Vehicle Carter Aviation CarterCopter Cartivator SkyDrive Davinci ZeroG Dekatone (unnamed) DeLorean Aerospace DR-7 Digi Robotics DroFire Digi Robotics Droxi Dufour aEro2 EAC Whisper EHang 184 Embraer (unnamed) EVA X01 Flexcraft (unnamed) Flike Flyt Aerospace FlytCycle Gravity X HopFlyt Venturi HoverSurf Drone Taxi R-1 HoverSurf Formula HoverSurf Scorpion JAXA Hornisse 2B Jetoptera J2000 Jetpack Aviation (unnamed) Joby Aviation S4 Kalashnikov (unnamed) Karem Butterfly KARI PAV Kármán XK-1 Kitty Hawk Cora Kitty Hawk Flyer Kitty Hawk Flyer (prototype) Lilium Jet Malloy Hoverbike Moller Skycar M400 Napoleon Aero VTOL Neoptera eOpter Neva Aerospace AirQuadOne PAVX PAV-UL Ultralight Piasecki eVTOL Pipistrel (unnamed) PteroDynamics Transwing Pop.Up Next Ray Research Dart Flyer Ray Research VTOL Aircraft Sabrewing Draco-2 Sikorsky VERT SKYLYS Aircraft AO Skypod Aerospace Skypod Starling Jet Supervolant Pegasus Terrafugia TF-2 Uber eCRM Urban Aeronautics CityHawk VerdeGo Aero PAT200 Vertiia Vickers WAVE eVTOL Vimana (unnamed) Volocopter VC200 / 2X VRCO NeoXCraft VTOL Aviation Abhiyaan Workhorse SureFly XTI Aircraft Trifan 600 Zee Aero Z-P2 Zenith Altitude EOPA (updated June 11, 2018)