JERUSALEM, June 6 (Xinhua) -- Israel has carried out the first flight test of its autopilot air taxis as part of the country's National Drone Initiative.
Conducted over an urban airspace of the town of Caesarea last week, the flight test involved two eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) models capable of carrying passengers and heavy cargo, according to a statement released by the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) on Monday.
The EH216-S, one of the two tested models, was manufactured by the Chinese company Guangzhou EHang Intelligent Technology. It can carry two passengers with a payload of up to 220 kg and fly a distance of 30 km.
Ahead of the test, a team of EHang experts arrived in Israel to help with the drone operation and train the Israeli team.
The other tested model is the Israeli-made Air Zero, which has the same passenger capacity and payload as EH216-S but can fly a distance of up to 160 km.
The IIA reported that the test was successful but both models did not fly passengers in the test, noting the flight distance and payload weights will be gradually increased in the next tests.
Launched in 2019, Israel's National Drone Initiative aims to help reduce road congestion and establish a national network of managed air routes for the transport of medicines, vaccines, medical equipment, retail products and more. ■