Chinese air taxi company EHang Holdings successfully completed a flight demonstration across four cities in Japan.
The unmanned EH216 aircraft flew over the four cities in July, completing first flights into the Kansai, Kyushu and Shikoku regions after first flying in Okayama and Fukishima last year.
World Expo 2025
The EHang air taxi will be one of many aircraft that will be flown during the Osaka World Expo 2025 in Osaka, Kansai. The Japanese government plans to connect eight different destinations to ferry passengers to the Expo via air taxis.
At about 20 flights per hour, the air taxis would fly to Yumeshima, Osaka’s artificial island and site of the World Expo, to airports and other locations in and around Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto.
These flights over Japanese cities are part of the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism efforts to develop a framework and plan on how these aircraft will operate during the event.
The EHang flights are part of the public-private air transportation council strategy to accelerate air taxi implementation including related schemes and roadmaps in preparation for the Expo event. It also will use the flight information to form autonomous air mobility solutions for the electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) flights at the Expo.
The demonstrations by EHang included over-the-sea flights as well as point-to-point flights, which the company claims are first for an eVTOL aircraft in Japan.
On July 6, the EH216 performed Japan’s first eVTOL demo flight over the sea for aerial sightseeing in Fukuyama City in Hiroshima Prefecture. On July 13, the air taxi completed the first eVTOL point-to-point demo flight for air mobility in Oita City in Oita Prefecture. On July 21, the EH216 conducted a flight carrying 176 pounds of cargo for logistics transportation in Sakaide City in Kagawa Prefecture, and successfully completed a demo flight in Amagasaki City in Hyogo Prefecture.
Additionally, the EH216 was exhibited in downtown Oita to expand public recognition and drum up interest in the transportation technology.