EHang is publicly demonstrating its 216 Autonomous Aerial Vehicle in South Korea this week. On November 11, the Chinese eVTOL aircraft developer flew the aircraft during the “Open the Urban Sky” event in Seoul, the country's capital. Seoul was the first stop in a tour that was due to go to several other undisclosed Korean cities to demonstrate the aircraft’s potential for applications such as air taxi service, sightseeing, and logistics.
The public flights with the two-seater aircraft have been permitted under a special certificate of airworthiness granted by South Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport. According to EHang, the Seoul metropolitan government has purchased one of the 216 AAVs and it has already been registered as “HL008X.”
In June 2020, the Korean government announced its Urban Air Mobility roadmap, which calls for the launch of commercial eVTOL services between 2023 and 2025. However, officials have yet to publish detailed plans for starting operations, including which companies and aircraft might be involved.
“We are excited that Seoul can host the country’s first domestic demo flight [of an eVTOL aircraft],” commented Seoul’s acting mayor, Seo Jeong-hyup. “Seoul is pioneering itself as an innovative hub of the world. Urban air mobility services are drawing keen attention as an option to alleviate ground traffic congestion with a huge potential for growth.”
EHang founder and chairman Huazhi Hu said that his company intends to be involved in developing urban air mobility services in Korea. “We are glad to see the Korean government taking the initiative in planning and implementing urban air mobility in Asia,” he commented. “This pioneering special certificate of airworthiness marks a leap for both parties and builds on our regulatory breakthroughs in China, Europe, and America.”