EHang has completed its first test flights for the European Union’s GOF 2.0 Integrated Urban Airspace Validation project, which aims to demonstrate how drones including air taxis can integrate into dense urban airspace.
Following eight months of preparation work, the first GOF 2.0 flight trials launched in Tartu, Estonia, on Sept. 2. Under a special permit from the Estonian Transport Administration, EHang flew its “passenger-grade” EH216 autonomous aerial vehicle in a VIP transport scenario (with no passengers onboard) from the Tartu Airport to the Estonian Aviation Museum.
EHang also used its smaller Falcon drone to demonstrate a parcel delivery mission from the Tartu Airport to a cargo terminal at the Estonian Aviation Museum. The flights were conducted beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS).
EHang is one of 15 industry partners taking part in the GOF 2.0 project, which is managed by the SESAR Joint Undertaking with the goal of delivering solutions for U-space, the European Commission’s initiative to safely integrate drones into European airspace.
According to Maria Tamm, project manager at Estonian Air Navigation Services, “The outcomes from the GOF 2.0 demonstrations will provide a unique opportunity for all stakeholders to gain a better understanding of the current possibilities and challenges when implementing U-space, advancing urban air mobility, and moving towards smart and sustainable aviation.”
In addition to the flights in Estonia, demonstrations are also planned in Finland, Poland, and Austria. The first wave of trials will include demonstrations of low-level parcel delivery drones, drone surveillance flights in urban areas, cross-border operations in U-space corridors, and interaction with unexpected helicopter emergency medical services flights.