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Continuing a series of major announcements over the past week, the Chinese eVTOL developer EHang has revealed a new firefighting version of its EHang 216 autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) called the EHang 216F.
Designed specifically for high-rise firefighting, the 216F can carry up to 150 liters (40 U.S. gallons) of firefighting foam and six fire extinguisher bombs in a single trip. As seen in an EHang video, the 216F uses a visible light zoom camera to quickly identify the location of fire, then hovers in position and uses a laser aiming device to successively deliver a window breaker, the fire extinguisher bombs, and a spray of firefighting foam.
EHang envisions that its 216Fs will be deployed in urban fire stations to assist in firefighting within a five-kilometer (three-mile) radius. The company suggested that multiple 216Fs could be rapidly deployed to a single fire using the company’s autopilot and remote centralized management technologies.
EHang unveiled the 216F at a launch ceremony in Yunfu, China. Weiqiang Chen, the head of a fire station in Yunfu, stated: “EHang’s intelligent aerial firefighting solution can effectively solve difficult problems in fighting high-rise fires. This complements existing firefighting systems and will improve society’s ability to respond to emergencies.”
High-rise fires pose special challenges because they often exceed the reach of fire ladders and hoses, and are located in dense urban environments where traffic can delay the response times of ground vehicles, EHang said. The company cited statistics from China Fire Magazine indicating that there were nearly 7,000 fires in high-rise buildings in China in 2019, representing a year-on-year growth of 10.6%.