Should we even be thinking about autonomous passenger-carrying flying vehicles when we still haven’t managed to address all the safety issues with self-driving cars? The demonstration of a passenger-carrying multi-copter at the upcoming IONICA 2019 is sure to bring that topic up for discussion.

When the 2nd World Mobility Forum kicks off at the IONICA in Zell-am-See in Austria on June 17, 2019, we should be able to catch a glimpse of the future. The Upper Austrian aerospace group FACC will be showcasing its version of tomorrow's autonomous aviation there. Apparently, travel in 3D is simpler than motion in 2D, on the ground. At least that's what the demonstration of the eHang 216 multicopter it hoping to prove.

Cooperation between the Austrian aerospace company FACC Ag from Ried im Innkreis with the Chinese aviation company eHang is expected to usher in a new era of (autonomous) aviation. Together they are working on the optimization and series production of autonomous aircraft (AAV).


According to FACC and eHang we need to cast our gaze skywards to see the future of the taxi cab. The world population is increasing rapidly. By 2030, around 5.2 billion people will live in urban areas with more than one billion people. If we assume the current method of work practice is still relevant then just scaling up the rush-hour traffic volume indicates we are heading to a future of gridlock. In good weather conditions airborne taxis offer a path to your destination in 3D air space; apart from the odd swan and pigeon flock there should be fewer obstacles to avoid compared to 2D travel on urban roads (if you ignore the other commuters flying to work).

On show at the 2nd World Mobility Forum on 18 June 2019 will be eHang’s multi-copter solution. Andreas Perotti from FACC will be presenting a talk on personal drones at the Ferry Porsche Congress Center along with a chance to see the eHang 216 in person.