With rapid digital acceleration comes the rise of new generation intelligence and growing investments in technologies. Just last month, the world's first AAV (Autonomous Aerial Vehicle) capable of carrying passengers, EHang 216, had its debut flight demonstration in the world-famous tourism hotspot of Bali, Indonesia. (Source: EHANG)
Two EHang 216 demo flights were conducted under EHang's cooperation; one was conducted privately while the second was opened for public viewing.
VIP guests who witnessed the event include Bambang Soesatyo, Chairman of the Indonesian People's Consultative Assembly, Putu Astawa, Head of the Bali Tourism Office and Rudy Salim, CEO and Founder of Prestige Corp.
Prior to the flight demo, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation of the Republic of Indonesia issued the Special Certificate of Airworthiness for the EHang 216 AAV, enabling it to be Indonesia's first passenger-grade AAV approved for a public unmanned flight demo.
SO WHAT IS EHANG 216 EXACTLY?
Imagine a drone that can carry passengers in it. That's right. In 2016, EHang (NASDAQ: EH), a world-leading autonomous aerial vehicle ("AAV") technology platform company based in Guangzhou, China, launched the first-Ever AAV "EHang 184".
The EHang 184 was made for one passenger. With EHang's 24/7, real-time flight command centre, passengers do not need a pilot's license. Simply by entering a destination into its accompanying smartphone app, and the AAV takes over from there. (EHANG News)
It is an unprecedented, innovative exploration and breakthrough for the technology startup from the get-go.
Fast forward to 2018, EHang 216 was first announced to the public. The EHang 216 has a two-seater and can fly for a range of 30-40km in the duration of 20-25 minutes.
Like Ehang 184, the 216 aircraft autonomous flying is also operated remotely and monitored from EHang's command-and-control centre using a 4G/5G high-speed wireless transmission channel. This enables passengers to have real-time video/voice calls with ground staff at all times during their flight journey.
The flying taxi is eco-friendly as it is battery-powered. It also reduces environmental harm caused by emissions. On top of that, real-time charging is made possible with the aircraft's Battery Management System (BMS). It takes about two hours to charge EHang 216 fully.
The EHang 216 circumnavigates the Bali skyline according to the route authorised by the Directorate of Aviation Navigation to demonstrate its precise control and coordination from the command centre.
"The first flying demonstration is without any passengers or cargo. We trained our crew for two weeks by trainers from the EHang manufacturer. The trained team are pilots and senior engineers with experience in the aviation world," said Rudy, CEO and Founder of Prestige Corp. (detikcom)
The most common question when talking about the Ehang 216 is safety concerns. According to Rudy, the autonomous technology of the Ehang 216 can minimise the occurrence and effects of human error, and safety can be assured.
One of the key advantages of flying taxis is that it can cut the travel time of conventional automobiles. With a fully ready-to-fly AAV manned drone capable of carrying passengers through the air, traditional infrastructure such as a large airport or runway is no longer required. Low altitude flight routes will be surveyed in advance, and it would serve as a viable solution to relieve traffic congestion pressures, especially in the big cities.
It is still indefinite when the flying taxi will be launched officially in Indonesia as Prestige Aviation is still waiting for the country's regulatory body to complete the regulations of performance and operations of the vehicle.
"We will continue to conduct flying tests in Jakarta and provide education about the Autonomous Aerial Vehicle (AAV) while waiting for the licensing process," said Rudy.