EHang is a corporation based in Guangzhou, China. It develops and produces autonomous aerial vehicles that are in use for airborne cinematography, photography, emergency response, and survey missions.
Notably, much of the development focus of China’s EHang has been on providing air taxi and air tourism services. Now the air movement company has its eyes on establishing the versatility of its autonomous aerial vehicle program with the launch of a firefighting variant of its two-person multi-rotor flying pod.
In May 2020, EHang got an approval from the Civil Aviation Administration of China to use its air taxis for heavy lift logistics, and the latest variant of the EHang puts that ability to good use. It can carry up to 150 liters of foam and six extinguisher bombs per trip to high-rise fire scenes.
Upon arrival at the scene, the 216F makes use of a visible light zoom camera to locate the fire, flies in position, and uses a laser guidance system to fire a window breaker, followed by extinguisher bombs and finally sprays the flames with foam.
As reported in a survey undertaken by China Fire Magazine, out of 233,000 fire cases reported in 2019, nearly 7,000 were in high-rise buildings. With the highest flight altitude of 600 m (1,968 ft), the 216F should be enough for the tall buildings. 216F points to significantly shorter response times thanks to the autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) zooming over inner-city traffic.
The passenger 216 can reach a top speed of 130 km/h (80 mph) and has a maximum flight time of 21 minutes. Appreciations to its autonomous flying capabilities and with the help of centralized management technologies, a fleet of firefighting AAVs could be remotely sent as the first response to a high-rise fire up to 5 km from the base.
“We are pleased to introduce the EHang 216F autonomous aerial firefighting solution, which solves difficult challenges in high-rise firefighting,” said EHang’s Huazhi Hu.”
The high-rise fire incidents highlight the effective utilization of this passenger-grade autonomous machine, and will also cater to several smart city administration needs. The potential of this intelligent AAV technology platform is boundless. Ehang explores and develops more aerial solutions and uses cases to empower smart cities.”
The EHang 216F has initially launched in China, but the company has plans to release the firefighting flyer globally in the future. The video below shows the aerial firefighter in action.