CHINA The electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft (eVTOL) “Shengshilong” recently took off from the Shekou cruise home port in Shenzhen, Guangdong, and landed at the Jiuzhou Port Terminal in Zhuhai after a flight of about 20 minutes. 

This is the first public demonstration flight of the world’s first cross-sea and cross-city electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft route.

The aircraft can be regarded as an “air taxi”.

The successful flight means that the one-way ground drive from Shenzhen to Zhuhai, which takes 2.5 to 3 hours, can be shortened to 20 minutes.

Low altitude is an important natural resource, and the flight is an important exploration of the commercial operation of low-altitude travel. 

Single seat fare is 200-300 yuan. Manned flights are expected to start in 2026.

Shenzhen and Zhuhai are located on the east and west sides of the Pearl River Estuary respectively.

In the past, traveling by car had to take a detour through the Nansha Bridge or Humen Bridge, which took about 2 to 3 hours. 

The future may change the way humans travel.

Xie Jia said that this new type of aircraft is a revolution in the history of the aviation industry, “just like ground oil-powered vehicles to trams, this is the transition from oil-powered helicopters to electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, and the noise is one-tenth of that of traditional helicopters, or even one percent. 

It is precisely because of such low noise levels that in the future the sky will be able to allow many such aircraft to fly at the same time, thus achieving scale”.

Electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft are called “air taxis”. They take off vertically like a helicopter, convert to fixed-wing flight mode in the air, and use pure electric power. 

The operating cost of electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft is lower than that of helicopters.

In addition, with enhanced automatic driving functions, the requirements for pilots are relatively low, so from an operational perspective, its single-seat ticket price is also relatively low. 

“It doesn’t make sense to fly once or twice. It must achieve scale and change human life and travel patterns to be meaningful.”

According to reports, the purpose of this technology is to serve point-to-point travel within cities and between cities in metropolitan areas.

Xie Jia said that, in addition to transportation hubs, lines such as airport connections, airports to transportation hubs, and airports to urban commercial hubs will also be developed in the future. 

After 5 to 10 years of operation, when the entire system and ecological environment, including the regulatory system, have matured, it will enter the next stage. 

From Expert point of view, Low-altitude economy has huge potential and it may become a new engine for China’s economic growth in the next 10 years.

The low-altitude economy is a comprehensive economic form that relies on low-altitude airspace and is driven by the low-altitude flight activities of various manned or unmanned aircraft, radiating and driving the integrated development of related fields. 

Xie Jia told reporters that at present, the utilization rate of low-altitude resources in China is still relatively low.

Low-altitude resources are a precious natural resource. It is time to start using the entire sky as a space for future travel.

Recently, the “Shenzhen Special Economic Zone Low-altitude Economic Industry Promotion Regulations” were officially implemented. 

As one of the most important pilot cities for the low-altitude economy, Shenzhen took the lead in introducing special regulations to promote the development of the low-altitude economic industry.

Chen Chen, executive director of the Network and Information Law Research Association of the China Law Society, said that Shenzhen has paved a legal runway for the low-altitude economy to take off. “As the country’s first regulation specifically aimed at promoting the low-altitude economic industry, it clearly states that social capital is encouraged to participate, and it also greatly simplifies the approval process.

The regulations still attach great importance to safety. It establishes a strict flight safety management system, as well as emergency plans and Relevant training measures will be taken to ensure safe and controllable low-altitude flights.”

Not long ago, the Central Economic Work Conference proposed the creation of a number of strategic emerging industries such as biomanufacturing, commercial aerospace, and low-altitude economy.

The low-altitude economy is becoming a “new track” for industrial development focused on everywhere. 

Chen Chen believes that the low-altitude economy contains vast opportunities, “The potential of the low-altitude economy is huge. The low-altitude economy may become a new engine for China’s economic growth in the next 10 years.”

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