EHang flies first passenger on Autonomous Air Vehicle in UAE

EHang also showcased other use cases by flying its EH216-F model designed for high-rise firefighting missions, and the EH216-L for aerial logistics operations.

EHang, a leading urban air mobility company, achieved a major milestone today by completing the first-ever passenger-carrying demonstration flight of an autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) in the United Arab Emirates and the broader Middle East region.

The company’s two-seat electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, the EH216-S, took to the skies in Abu Dhabi with a passenger on board, marking a significant step forward for self-piloting air taxi technologies in the UAE.

In addition to the passenger flight demo, EHang also showcased other use cases by flying its EH216-F model designed for high-rise firefighting missions, and the EH216-L for aerial logistics operations.

“Today’s flights represent a new frontier in getting pilotless air mobility solutions into mainstream circulation,” said EHang founder and CEO Hu Huazhi. “The UAE is showing impressive foresight in embracing cutting-edge AAV technologies that can make mobility easier and more sustainable for its citizens.”

The passenger-carrying AAV demo followed EHang’s previous achievements operating its aerial vehicles in other countries like China, Austria, Thailand and the United States. However, the UAE represents new territory as authorities explore how to best institutionalize advanced air mobility solutions into its transportation ecosystem.

The Gulf state has moved aggressively to put itself at the forefront of next-generation aviation technology, even establishing a dedicated AAV test corridor and regulatory framework to support UAM aircraft testing and commercialization.

While the EH216 passenger model can carry two people, the company only flies one passenger during demo flights as a safety precaution while the technology remains in the certification process. EHang says its AAVs use machine learning to automatically choose the safest path and avoid obstacles.

With its recent demo success, EHang is hopeful the UAE will lead the region in giving the green light to commercial deployment of autonomous air taxis and other UAM solutions in the coming years. The ability to fly passengers, firefighting teams or commercial cargo could provide a major sustainability boost to urban mobility.