Autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) technology company EHang has selected telecommunications provider Vodafone as its AAV connectivity partner.

Under the strategic partnership, EHang will serve as Vodafone’s urban air mobility (UAM) partner.

As part of the agreement, Vodafone will install its SIM cards on all EHang AAVs operating in Europe.

Vodafone’s network will enable communication between individual passenger, logistics AAVs, and command-and-control centres.

This connectivity will help ensure safe and efficient transportation through urban air space.

EHang founder chairman and CEO Hu Huazhi said: “Every AAV requires digital connectivity to ensure the coordination of air traffic, so fast networks like 5G are critical to enabling sustainable pilotless air travel and freight delivery systems.

“5G is also a key infrastructure component for the commercial deployment of AAVs, since it enables take-offs and landings that are precisely controlled within centimetres.”

Should Boeing be bailed out?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

The parties also plan to collaborate on AAV test flights.

In addition, EHang and Vodafone plan on making digital and streaming content available to onboard AAV passengers, as well as allow payments and support identity verification.

Vodafone CEO Hannes Ametsreiter said: “Autonomous air taxis will enable increased mobility options for all of us in the future. They will complement existing modes of transportation but allow us to fly above traffic jams if needed.”

EHang’s 216 passenger model AAV is designed to provide pilotless air transportation services.

The company has also conducted flight demonstrations of its AAV in different countries worldwide.