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EHang partners with Shenzhen Expressway on drone, 5G projects

Shenzhen Expressway Company Limited, a developer and operator of toll highways, is set to expand its use of EHang’s autonomous aerial vehicles (AAVs) under a strategic partnership announced last week. 

EHang Falcon drone Shenzhen Expressway
EHang Falcon B Series drones perform a demonstration of road inspection at a recent press event. EHang Photo

Both companies are based in China’s Guangdong Province and have been working together for the past two years to develop command-and-control systems for EHang’s Falcon B Series drones, small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that are used by Shenzhen Expressway for road inspection.  

The partners see potential for EHang’s various AAV models — which include the two-seat, “passenger-grade” EH216 — in additional applications such as emergency response and the transportation of materials. In the future, landing platforms along Shenzhen Expressway’s highways could be used to transfer passengers between EHang’s electric air taxis and ground vehicles, an EHang spokesperson told 

“Our in-depth partnership with Shenzhen Expressway is another major strategic deployment to deepen the urban air mobility industry in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area,” EHang chief strategy officer Edward Xu said in a press release announcing the teaming agreement. 

“We hope to work with Shenzhen Expressway to upgrade the transportation in Shenzhen for intelligent urban mobility networks,” he added. 

EHang Shenzhen Expressway Command Control
Shenzhen Expressway’s UAV Command and Control Center provides real-time visibility of AAV operations. EHang Photo

EHang will be a technical partner in Shenzhen Expressway’s new “UAV + 5G Technology Research and Application Center,” which aims to explore the application of UAV and 5G technology for road management and emergency rescue. 

“While traditional networks allow communications between each AAV and the command-and-control center, 5G networks broaden the communications loop to also enable direct communications between AAVs,” EHang’s spokesperson explained by email. “5G networks enable real-time high-resolution image transmission, remote control, and precise positioning for multiple AAVs’ operation simultaneously.” 

Meanwhile, Shenzhen Expressway will be a partner in EHang’s 100 Air Mobility Routes Initiative, which aims to identify 100 meaningful urban air mobility (UAM) routes for trial flights as a stepping stone to large-scale commercial air taxi operations. Xu called the agreement with Shenzhen Expressway “another milestone” for the UAM project. 

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