Vodafone looks to the sky with flying taxi partnership - Mobile World Live

Vodafone looks to the sky with flying taxi partnership

18 OCT 2019

Vodafone Germany penned a deal with a Chinese flying car company, as part of plans to build a communications system for autonomous air taxis and drones in Europe.

Under the exclusive agreement, Vodafone will equip electrically-powered Ehang autonomous air taxis (AAT) in Europe with SIM cards. This will enable the two-seater vehicles to communicate with command centres and regulate operations, with a view to delivering safe navigation of urban airspace.

Ehang founder, chairman and CEO Hu Huazhi (pictured, left) said in a statement 5G is key for the deployment of AATs as it “enables take-offs and landings that are precisely controlled within centimetres.”

Vodafone Germany CEO Hannes Ametsreiter (pictured, right) added: “Autonomous air taxis will enable increased mobility options for all of us in the future. They will complement existing modes of transportation, but allow us to fly above traffic jams if needed.”

Vodafone has a track record in transportation, having connected 22 million vehicles to its network. The operator sends information to insurance companies and can track missing vehicles.

Consultancy Roland Berger predicts there could be 100,000 passenger drones in operation by 2050, as urbanisation increases pressure on transport infrastructure.

In early 2018, Vodafone Group launched an eSIM-based drone tracking system, designed to prevent mid-air collisions and criminal activity.

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Manny Pham

Manny joined Mobile World Live in September 2019 as a reporter based in London. He has previous experience in telecoms having worked for B2B publication Mobile News for three years where he climbed up to the position of Features Editor....

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