Chinese autonomous aerial vehicle maker (AAV) EHang said it would be participating as the only passenger eVTOL partner in the SAFIR-Med project. SAFIR-Med, which stands for “Safe and Flexible Integration of Advanced U-Space Services for Medical Air Mobility”, is a research and innovation project to promote the use of unmanned aviation in healthcare systems across the European Union. The project aims to ensure that healthcare is of high quality and accessible to all citizens of the EU. The project has selected 17 partners from eight countries and is supported by eight cross-industry advisory board members including the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Red Cross. Within two years, the project intends to demonstrate advanced U-Space services enabling the highest possible operational safety level. These include detect-and-avoid as a service, dynamic geofencing and air traffic prioritisation rules.
EHang will use EH216, its flagship two-seat passenger-grade AAV, and its Falcon medium-sized AAV to transport medical supplies in urban environment. The demonstrations will take place in collaboration with healthcare providers like hospitals and medical spaces in the cities of Antwerp (Belgium), Aachen (Germany), Heerlen (the Netherlands) and Maastricht (the Netherlands), leveraging the MAHHL trans-border region. The project results will then be further demonstrated in two additional locations in Europe, namely Athens, Greece and Prague, Czech Republic. Prior to the operational environment demonstrations, a de-risking exercise at the DronePort BVLOS test-facility (Belgium) will take place.
Using its expertise and abundant experience, EHang will help formulate a performance assessment and recommendations report, which will refine the current U-space architecture principles, propose operational procedures and mechanisms for an effective interface between Air Traffic Control (ATC) and U-Space service providers, and suggest a set of Urban Air Mobility (UAM) indicators to complement the existing smart urban mobility indicators used by European cities. The project is among several managed by the SESAR Joint Undertaking in an effort to deliver solutions for U-space, the European Commission’s initiative on the safe and secure integration of drones in European airspace.