Autonomous ‘flying taxi’ debuts test flight in Bali (Video)

EHang 216, a Chinese-made autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) with a capacity of two passengers, debuted its first test flight in Bali last week. Photo: EHang
EHang 216, a Chinese-made autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) with a capacity of two passengers, debuted its first test flight in Bali last week. Photo: EHang

Do we need autonomous flying taxis? The question comes as a flight demo for one was recently conducted in Bali’s Klungkung regency, perhaps signaling that the possibility is not too far off in our future. 

EHang 216, a Chinese-made autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) with a capacity of two passengers, debuted its first test flight in Bali last week. The CEO of Prestige Image Motocars, Rudy Salim, whose company is Ehang’s local partner, dubbed it as an “effective, affordable, and efficient solution for Indonesian air mobility.”

According to Rudy, EHang216 will be able to reach secluded areas and offers a solution for places that might be inaccessible by land. The flying taxi utilizes internet connectivity and will be controlled by a pilot on land, with its energy sourced from a battery. 

“The safety level is much safer than conventional helicopters, because it has 16 propellers. In emergency situations, the first thing it would do is to alert [the] system, so it won’t be flying. If it happens while up in the air, even if three propellers don’t function it would still be able to fly,” Rudy said. 

EHang216 makers are still waiting for official permits to make it available for rent in Indonesia, with Rudy previously estimating that fare might be about IDR1 million (US$69) per person, for a 30-minute ride. 

The debut flight demo in Bali was also attended by Indonesian officials, including People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) Speaker Bambang Soesatyo. According to reports, this AAV has previously undergone flight tests in at least 41 cities across eight countries.

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