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EHang announced this week it is joining Ambular, an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) staff effort to develop an eVTOL air ambulance.
The Chinese autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) developer plans to contribute hardware including motors and rotors to the project, facilitating research and development of the power component of the aircraft. EHang said it can also help accelerate the project by sharing insights from its own experience in using AAVs for emergency response. For example, earlier this year, EHang demonstrated the use of an EHang 216 to transport medical supplies to a hospital in Hezhou city, China.
“We are excited to join the ICAO-supported Ambular project, where we can work with industry leaders to fulfill the mission of ‘saving critical minutes’ in emergencies,” EHang founder and CEO Huazhi Hu stated in a press release. “This can demonstrate the great value of UAM [urban air mobility] to society. We see that UAM has the potential to materially improve transportation and have a positive impact on peoples’ lives.”
According to its website, the Ambular project grew out of a 2017 ICAO think tank exploring the future of aviation, led by the engineer and futurist Charles Bombardier. Bombardier and ICAO staff conceived an eVTOL that could rapidly transport patients to a hospital from the scene of a medical emergency, but realized they needed to do more research to understand what it would take to bring their concept to fruition.