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First pilotless eVTOL aircraft to enter mass production

China has taken a stride towards commercial operation of autonomous flying taxis by awarding EHang Holdings a Production Certificate for its EH216-S passenger-carrying pilotless electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.

Issued by the Civil Aviation Administration of China, this is the first Production Certificate granted in the eVTOL industry anywhere in the world.

Securing the certificate means that EHang has established a mass production quality management system that meets the CAAC’s airworthiness regulatory requirements. The company has thus been given the green light for mass production, having delivered a total of 52 EH216-S aircraft last year.

This mass production quality management system covers raw materials, supplier management, production quality control, aircraft pre-delivery test, after-sales repair and maintenance, establishing clear guidelines and documentation for every step in the production process.

Mass production of eVTOL aircraft is very much part of China’s drive to promote the low-altitude economy which was among several strategic emerging industries proposed by the Central Economic Work Conference last year.

The EH216-S secured the world’s first Type Certificate and Standard Airworthiness Certificate for pilotless passenger-carrying eVTOL aircraft from the CAAC  in 2023.

The vehicle can carry two passengers, has a maximum range of 30km and a maximum speed of 130km/h. The battery can be recharged in two hours.

The company see the aircraft as being perfectly suited for passenger transportation, sightseeing, logistics and medical aid. 

In February, the company suggested a retail price of US$410,000 per unit for the aircraft in global markets outside China.

Mr. Huazhi Hu, Founder, Chairman and CEO of EHang, said: ‘The issuance of the PC is pivotal for the EH216-S as it opens the door to mass production, and a crucial step for our advancement towards commercial operations.

‘With the PC as the starting point, we are poised to gradually expand production and delivery to meet escalating market demands. Our vision is to introduce safe and reliable pilotless eVTOL aircraft to the global market, thereby offering safe, autonomous and eco-friendly air mobility services to everyone.’

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