The autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) developer EHang has signed cooperation agreements with the governments of Seville and Llíria, Spain, to execute urban air mobility (UAM) pilot programs.
According to EHang press releases, the agreements encompass applications including passenger transportation and air logistics, along with supporting command-and-control platforms. The cities will coordinate with EHang to plan flight routes and seek permission to conduct test flights in accordance with Spanish and European regulations.
“Establishing the partnership with EHang, one of the world’s leading UAM enterprises, is a great opportunity for Seville,” stated Seville Mayor Juan Espadas Cejas. “Our city has a rich legacy in European aviation, which we believe can promote EHang’s AAV tests, operations, and permitting applications both in Spain and Europe. We look forward to EHang’s first flight in Seville and hope our cooperation will facilitate the commercialization of its UAM ecosystem in Europe.”
EHang founder, chairman, and CEO Hu Huazhi suggested that the company’s AAVs could be “a great solution for the city to relieve traffic congestion and better preserve historic sectors. Furthermore, as a popular tourist city, we hope to open up flying routes for sightseeing so that visitors from around the world can experience the spectacular cityscape of Seville by air,” he said.
In Llíria, EHang also intends to improve the efficiency of logistics delivery by leveraging the city’s proximity to Valencia, one of the important ports in Europe.
“We appreciate EHang [choosing] Llíria for the UAM initiative in Europe,” stated Llíria Mayor Manuel Civera Salvador. “Its disruptive innovation of this new urban air transport vehicle will have a profound impact on our life and many business and service sectors in the near future.”
Seville and Llíria are both members of the UAM Initiative Cities Community launched in 2017 by the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities.
The agreements are EHang’s first such collaborations in Spain and further expand the China-based company’s presence in Europe. On March 5, EHang announced that it had obtained an operational flight permit from Civil Aviation Authority Norway for long-term flight testing of its EHang 216 AAV, with a particular interest in serving the offshore oil-and-gas industry in the North Sea.
This story has been updated to add details about EHang’s cooperation with Llíria, announced on March 18.