Autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) firm EHang has unveiled the new logistics version of its flagship drone, the EHang 216, aimed at short-to-medium-haul air logistics in both urban and rural areas.
The newly-unveiled 216L has 440 pounds (200kg) of payload capacity. The company says this is the largest payload for a multi-rotor AAV for aerial logistics to date.
Presenting the EHang 216L
According to Frost & Sullivan, the urban air mobility global logistics market could reach $46 billion by 2023 — an estimated compound annual growth rate of 740%.
The EHang 216L is built to help its developer consolidate its share of that market with its impressive payload capacity, a fully redundant safety design, and a distributed electric propulsion configuration consisting of 8 arms and 16 independent motors and propellers.
EHang says the design allows for it to deliver on its promise of safety, autopiloting capability, cluster management, and clean energy efficiency.
The EHang 216L could be particularly useful for moving agricultural equipment and products in mountainous areas with poor road conditions. It can also be deployed to deliver materials to oil rigs and could be especially powerful as a tool for delivering urgent emergency supplies to a variety of crisis situations.
New addition to the growing fleet of AAVs
"We’re thrilled to unveil another new version of AAV following the EHang 216F. The EHang 216L will meet the demand for heavy-lift AAVs for short-to-medium-haul aerial logistics," EHang’s Founder, Chairman and CEO Hu Huazhi, explained in a press release.
"With increasing payloads and flight ranges, aerial logistics is expected to be one of the initial commercial applications of AAVs as it has higher efficiencies but lower emissions than conventional ground transportation," he continued.
The EHang 216L joins a growing list of UAVs and AAVs being developed for a future that will likely see deliveries of goods and mail via drones become commonplace.
Their rise is likely to be so rapid, in fact, that some researchers say we may not be ready for the onslaught of UAVs that will soon take to the skies.