Tan Hooi Ling
Chief Operating Officer and Founder, Grab
In March 2019, Huazhi Hu took a short taxi journey in Guangzhou, in southern China. Not just any kind of taxi. Hu's short trip took place inside a pilotless flying taxi.
Hu took to the skies in a display of not only the growing potential of air mobility, but also a proof of concept of the flying machines, or an autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) to use the official name, that his company has created.
Hu is the cofounder and CEO of EHang, which has been developing and manufacturing AAVs since 2014. Already in use across China for survey missions, emergency response and aerial photography, the next frontier for EHang’s AAVs is passenger services.
The company had in 2017 announced plans to launch an autonomous flying-taxi service in Dubai, but plans fell through. This, however, did not deflate Hu’s ambition and EHang is currently working with a number of cities in China and overseas to develop urban air mobility solutions, including air logistics and passenger transportation.
Hu is a hands-on CEO with a passion for aviation. He is the creator and chief architect of EHang’s non-passenger AAV, the Ghost Intelligent Aerial Robot, and still remains engaged in the R&D of new products. And he is of course also willing to act as test pilot when needed.