The Future of Advanced Air Mobility

EHang's EH216 Aircraft Tests Europe's EGNOS Satnav Deployment for eVTOL Flights

EHang is to deploy its EH216 Autonomous Aerial Vehicle in a European Union-funded project that is assessing how the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) could be used for eVTOL aircraft operations. The fully autonomous, all-electric vehicle will be used for flight trials at Lleida-Alguaire Airport in Spain as part of the Satellite Based Augmentation System Adoption in Multicopter VTOL Aircraft (SAMVA) program.

EGNOS is intended to improve the performance of global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) like GPS and Galileo in Europe. The system has been jointly developed by the air traffic management agency Eurocontrol and the European Space Agency to supplement GPS service by reporting on the reliability and accuracy of positioning data and providing corrections as necessary. At a later stage, it will perform the same function with Galileo, which is the European GNSS equivalent to GPS.

As part of an initiative of the European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA), the SAMVA project is tasked with establishing how EGNOS could support planned advanced air mobility services, including eVTOL air taxi flights. It is also intended to prepare for uncrewed vehicles to use the new U-Space concept for managing autonomous or remotely piloted aircraft.

Aeroports de Catalunya will help China-based EHang to establish an operational center at its Lleida-Alguaire facility in the Catalonian region of northeast Spain. The EH216 will use the EGNOS technology to conduct  Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) tasks and to demonstrate how eVTOL aircraft could operate in urban environments, including to and from airports.

EHang is working to achieve Chinese certification for the two-seat EH216, which it intends to deploy with partners and customers for services such as air taxi and sightseeing flights. It also aims to get approval for its aircraft to operate in Europe and has been active in other air mobility partnerships in Europe, where it has provisional customers in places like Norway.

In October, EHang completed its participation in the European Union’s Air Mobility Urban-Large Experimental Demonstration (AMU-LED), with a series of flight tests in Spain. The company, which is one of 16 consortium members involved in the program, demonstrated the EH216 at the Rozas Airborne Research Center, which is part of Spain’s National Institute of Aerospace Technology.

“The SAMVA project will unleash EGNOS capabilities aboard EHang’s EH216 AAV to provide precise and integral navigation guidance and support U-Space airspace integration,” commented Victoria Jing Xiang, the company’s chief operating officer for Europe and Latin America. “Our participation in this project reflects the meaningful progress we’ve made overseas with our strong industry-leading technologies as our global footprint expands.”