Source: Xianning News Network
When it comes to unmanned driving, many people think of unmanned vehicles at the first time, but they don’t know that another branch of unmanned driving — Unmanned aerial vehicles are also developing rapidly, and in the application field, they will even realize commercial value earlier than unmanned cars.
On April 7, the executive meeting of the State Council reviewed and approved the
“Interim Regulations on the Management of Unmanned Aircraft Flights (Draft)”
(hereinafter referred to as the “Regulations”). It is proposed to take the implementation of the “Regulations” as an opportunity to regulate the flight of unmanned aircraft and related activities, actively promote the sustainable and healthy development of related industries, and effectively maintain aviation safety, public safety, and national security.
At the same time as the “Regulations” were released, the industry all focused their attention on EHang, a Chinese intelligent aircraft technology company. Since the release of the world’s first passenger autonomous aircraft in 2016, EHang has made many breakthroughs in technology and airworthiness in passenger civil autonomous aircraft. The “Regulations” approval will help the passenger-level autonomous aircraft accelerate towards the goal of landing operation, and the EHang EH216-S passenger-level autonomous aircraft type certification work, which has attracted worldwide attention, is expected to receive good news soon. The air mobility led by unmanned driving will enter the fast track of commercial development.
Favorable supervision, the unmanned driving aircraft industry has entered a new stage of standardized development
Supervision is a major challenge that cannot be avoided in the development of the unmanned driving industry.
For the unmanned-driving passenger air transportation industry, the regulatory challenge lies in the lack of comprehensive laws and regulations, which also restricts the rapid development of the industry to a certain extent. Fortunately, relevant domestic regulatory agencies have been providing corresponding guidance and support to the unmanned-driving air transportation industry, and constantly promoting the improvement of relevant laws and regulations.
With the deliberation, approval and official issuance of the “Regulations” this year, the unmanned aircraft industry will usher in a new stage of standardized development with “laws to follow”.
In addition to the “Regulations”, regulators will guide and regulate the development of the unmanned air transportation industry from different aspects.
In April 2022, the Civil Aviation Administration of China issued “Civil Unmanned Aircraft System Distributed Operation Classification (Draft for Comment)”, pointing out that with the development of UAV technology and the deepening of various scene applications, the distributed operation based on a certain degree of automatic flight has become the general trend. Industry analysts pointed out that the document will further promote the improvement of the industry regulatory system, release the huge commercial potential of applications in related industries such as passenger transportation, logistics transportation, and emergency rescue, and lay a solid foundation for the sustainable development of the aerial unmanned driving market.
Also in 2022, Office of the Leading Group for the Administration of Civil Unmanned Aircraft of the Civil Aviation Administration (Air Traffic Management Office) issued a notice to solicit comments on “Civil Unmanned Aviation Development Roadmap V1.0.”
It is proposed to realize the “seamless” integration of civil autonomous aviation into the national airspace system. According to the roadmap, by 2025, short-distance passenger flight represented by urban commuting transportation will carry out application demonstrations, which will greatly encourage passenger autonomous aircraft companies like EHang, and promote the intelligent development of the air mobility industry.
Airworthiness innovation, the world’s first autonomous passenger aircraft TC certificate is expected to be landed in China
According to the definition of the “Regulations”, “unmanned aircraft” refers to an aircraft that is operated without a pilot on board. Among them, medium-sized unmanned aerial vehicles (maximum take-off weight exceeding 25 kg) and large unmanned aircraft (maximum take-off weight exceeding 150 kg) require airworthiness management.
As an important part of airworthiness certification, EHang EH216-S passenger autonomous aircraft entered the cooperation scope of CAAC airworthiness certification in 2018. At present, the Civil Aviation Administration of China and EHang are finishing the final 10% of the EH216-S passenger autonomous aircraft type certificate (Type Certification, TC) certification project. This is not only the world’s first TC review project for passenger autonomous aircraft, but after successful certification, EH216-S is expected to become the world’s first passenger autonomous aircraft to obtain type certification.
EHang revealed in its latest financial report that over 90% of the type qualification review process for its passenger autonomous aircraft EH216-S has been completed, making it the fastest progress among the global electric vertical take-off and landing vehicle (eVTOL) TC projects. The deliberation and approval of the “Regulations” this time is believed to accelerate the progress of the EH216-S model qualification review, and TC certification is no longer far away.
It is understood that in the past two years, under the guidance of the Civil Aviation Administration of China and the promotion of the “100-Line Air Mobility Plan”, EHang and its customers and partners have developed 18 EH216-S passenger AAV pilot spots in 16 cities in China, distributed in Guangzhou, Hezhou, Shenzhen, Zhaoqing, Sanya and other cities; and completed more than 8,200 safe operation test flights at these locations, for application scenarios such as air tourism.
At present, EHang’s autonomous aerial vehicles have completed more than 34,000 safe test flights around the world. Practical application scenarios include passenger transportation, logistics transportation, fire fighting, medical emergency, etc. Its flight footprint covers twelve countries around the world, and it is a leader in the industry. The release of the “Regulations” will bring unprecedented benefits to the development of unmanned air mobility industry. It is hoped that EHang will continue to seize the opportunity, adhere to independent innovation, accelerate the airworthiness certification of autonomous aircraft, consolidate the leading achievements in technology, and continue to develop and lead the innovative development of the global urban air mobility industry.