Daily Life

Up in the Air in Austria

5. April 2019

FACC, the Austrian aviation company, and the Chinese EHang Air Mobility Group intend to take their air taxi to series production in Austria by 2020

Autonomous flying is moving from dream to reality

FACC and Ehang are adding a third partner, ProSiebenSat.1 PULS 4, to improve promotion of mobility of the future, as EHang Vice President Cora Tang, EHang Overseas Managing Director Felix Lee, FACC CEO Robert Machtlinger, and ProSiebenSat.1 PULS 4 CEO Markus Breitenecker announced during a press conference. Implementing any new mobility project requires the drive to innovate, the highest in precision, and suitable legal framework conditions, but it also takes public acceptance. The three partners view themselves as pioneers of urban air mobility in Europe, which is why they are starting a broad public dialogue on the issue of mobility of the future now. The move is a logical progression in ProSiebenSat.1 PULS 4’s 4GAMECHANGERS strategy. At this year’s 4GAMECHANGERS Festival from 9 to 11 April in Vienna, attendees will, for the first time, be able to go for a ride in EHang’s autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV).

The three partners are united by the vision of jointly furthering the mobility systems of the future. The strategic cooperation between FACC and EHang is a big step towards assuming technology leadership in the area of urban air mobility. The addition of ProSiebenSat.1 PULS 4 takes the alliance a step further and marks the beginning of a discussion with all stakeholders. AAVs will be an essential component of that discussion.

“The question is no longer whether there will be air taxis, but when. And we will be at the top of that industry,” Machtlinger says. Current studies show that the global market for passenger AAVs may grow to more than $2 billion by the middle of the next decade. Up to 100,000 passengers will be transported in such vehicles worldwide by 2025. Experts believe that autonomous flying will be practical even earlier than autonomous driving, since transit route design is much less complex.

The three partners view the project as a chance for Austria and Europe as a whole to position themselves as pioneers.

One major challenge will certainly be regulation. The practicability of aerial mobility solutions is already the topic of intense discussion among industry partners, politicians, and aviation authorities. Provisions have also been made for designing the framework conditions and rules for individual air travel and, later on, accelerating the creation of a test area in Austria in coordination with authorities.

Significant contribution to the mobility of the future

All over the world, metropolises are looking for transport solutions that preserve the environment, reduce noise, and eliminate traffic jams. Electrically driven air taxis are being employed on new, previously unused traffic routes and can thus make a significant contribution to providing that solution. Urban air mobility will likely not primarily involve aircraft for private customers. Instead, new models are designed for public use as autonomous air taxis. Providers could be airlines, transport associations, or start-ups. Specific pilot projects are already under way. EHang Founder and CEO Mr. Huazhi HU says, “An innovative, clean drive technology combined with the growing capabilities of digitalization allows us to implement completely new, highly efficient solutions in this area. Given stable 5G infrastructures, autonomous flying will soon be reality, offering customers a new dimension of convenience.” Within the partnership, EHang is the inventor and expert for all questions having to do with autonomous flying, especially with respect to connectivity and software solutions.

Innovation requires acceptance: autonomous flying is moving from dream to reality

Mobility behaviour will change fundamentally in the coming decades – the age of individual air transport is approaching. At the same time, people are requiring more safety and an intact environment. The next logical step in moving populations along the path toward a mobile future is a broad platform that addresses future developments and opportunities and people’s questions and worries.

Alliance ProSiebenSat.1 PULS 4, the 4GAMECHANGERS company

Markus Breitenecker, ProSiebenSat.1 PULS 4 CEO, says, “Our 4GAMECHANGERS strategy is aimed at combining Europe’s media and digital industries. Effective immediately, we are building a media platform to address all mobility of the future issues – a platform we call ‘4GAMECHANGERS Ecosystem’.” Nobody is used to taking off and flying over buildings to get to their next appointment or to the airport. “It will involve disrupting all conventional transportation systems, circumventing terrain features and traffic jams – and it is all electrified, low-emission, and time-saving. We consider it to be the systematic continuation of our 4GAMECHANGERS strategy and look forward to being an exclusive alliance partner,” Breitenecker says of the future of 3D mobility.

The 4GAMECHANGERS Festival 2019 represents the starting gun for a broad media treatment in information, discussion, and docutainment formats on several broadcasters and on partner media. A digital platform (www.urban-air-mobility.io) will make all content that has been developed on the issue or published by platform participants available at all times. ProSiebenSat.1 PULS 4’s in-house creative and content agency, “FOUR”, has been working with FACC and EHang on the conceptual design and production of image and branding material to promote the alliance and the issue.

The first air taxi at the 4GAMECHANGERS Festival

Those who wish to see an air taxi up close for themselves and receive details about these vehicles will have an opportunity to do so at the 4GAMECHANGERS Festival from 9 to 11 April in Vienna. Autonomous air travel is a game-changer in the true sense of the term. What could be more fitting for the Festival’s “Europe meets Asia” slogan and fundamental “Industry meets makers” orientation than the world first of an air taxi for everyone? That is why this issue will be one focus of the sessions at this year’s 4GAMECHANGERS Festival.

Images: PR . The second images shows Founder, CEO of EHang, Hu Huazhi in EHang AAV


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