Chinese drone firm Ehang has recruited Austrian composites manufacturer FACC as partner for the development and production of autonomous air taxis.

FACC – a subsidiary of Chinese aerospace group AVIC – says it has signed a strategic partnership with Ehang, under which the latter's air vehicles will be jointly "optimised and made ready" for serial production.

The partners will also conduct joint research and development and plan to establish a test site in Austria, FACC says.

The experimental Ehang 814 flew for the first time in 2015 and has since completed thousands of flights, the Chinese developer previously said.

Ehang 814 UAV


Equipped with four upward- and four downward-facing rotors, the autonomous drone is designed to carry a single passenger and will be navigated by waypoint selection on a tablet computer.

Noting FACC's experience in the development, production, certification and maintenance of aircraft components, chief executive Robert Machtlinger states that the company is "fully equipped and dedicated when it comes to implementing safe and highly efficient lightweight solutions for individual air mobility".

He adds that the partnership with Ehang takes FACC "a big step forward".

Ehang founder and chief executive Hu Huazhi says the co-operation "strongly supports us in the implementation of our solutions" and in the manufacturing and certification of the company's aircraft.