EHang Demonstrates Passenger Drones for Emergency Response

passenger drones for emergency response EHang Holdings Limited (Nasdaq: EH) introduced passenger drones to the world several years ago, with the most talked-about prototype at the 2016 CES.  Since then, the company has successfully developed the fully autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) technology platform.  Now, EHang has successfully demonstrated the use of passenger drones for emergency response – a stunning application for a new tool.

China has been steadily implementing plans for introducing passenger drones; two cities in Europe have also announced plans to implement passenger drone pilot programs.  But beyond urban air mobility (UAM), drone delivery and the concept of “drone taxis” is another, life-saving application: automated passenger drones for emergency response.  EHang has already participated in organ delivery testing: last week they successfully participated in a stunning flood emergency response demonstration in Shaoguan, China.

passenger drones for emergency responsePart of an exercise in “smart city management,” the exercise utilized the EHang platform operated entirely remotely, from a stunning command and control base – one that Ehang built and tested in 2018. “With capacity for over 60 staff, the command-and-control center integrates multiple government functions for emergency response and smart city management, including the five core functions of monitoring, scheduling, controlling, early warning and centralized management,” says a press release. “The command-and-control center has responded to the needs of different authorities such as the Shaoguan Emergency Management Bureau, the Water Affairs Bureau, Forestry Bureau, the Environmental Protection Bureau and the Traffic Police Detachment for smart city management.”

This exercise simulated an all too realistic scenario.  “In order to effectively prepare for the upcoming flood season, the exercise simulated a scenario of bank collapse of the Wujiang River, which threatened the safety of the township and its schools,” says a company press release. “In this exercise, the local authorities promptly launched the alert and carried out ten measures to combat the flood, including transferring people at risk, sending an emergency rescue team, rescuing drowning people with boats and delivering relief supplies, etc.”

EHang’s role was to respondby sending ten remotely-managed AAVs to four emergency sites. “Controlled from a remote command-and-control center, EHang AAVs livestreamed the process of emergency repair, flood discharge, and staff transfer via built-in high definition cameras,” explains the company. EHang’s passenger drones also accurately dropped life jackets and other emergency supplies to victims, one of the critical emergency response capabilities in flood response.

“In the future, city management will be more intelligent, integrated and data-oriented. I am thrilled that EHang joined hands with the Shaoguan city government to lead this trend of smart city management. We will continue to contribute our technological advantages toward building Shaoguan as a model of a smart city utilizing comprehensive AAV applications,” said Mr. Hu Huazhi, the Founder, Chairman and CEO of EHang.

EHang has also been instrumental in providing assistance during the current pandemic: helping local governments conduct air inspections of industrial parks, roads, food market and reservoirs.

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Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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