Berlin, Oct 18 | Vodafone Germany on Friday announced a deal with Chinese autonomous air taxis company EHang to collaborate on building an urban air mobility (UAM) ecosystem first in Germany and then Europe-wide.
Under the agreement, Vodafone will become EHang’s exclusive partner to provide connectivity to all EHang AAVs operating in Europe by equipping them with Vodafone SIM cards. EHang will become Vodafone’s exclusive urban air mobility partner.
Through the Vodafone network, individual passenger and logistics autonomous aerial vehicles will be able to communicate with the command-and-control centres that regulate their operations as well as with each other, enabling safer and more efficient transportation through urban air space, EHang said in a statement.
“Every AAV (autonomous aerial vehicle) 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,” said EHang Founder, Chairman and CEO Hu Huazhi.
“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.”
Once the regulatory framework allows, the two companies also intend to collaborate on autonomous air taxis test flights and will further work together on mobility platform services that provide digital and streaming content to autonomous air taxis passengers while in-vehicle, enable payments, and support identity verification.
“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,” said Vodafone Germany CEO Hannes Ametsreiter.
EHang said its mission is to make safe, autonomous and eco-friendly air mobility accessible to everyone.