Is Ehang IPO the Best Bet for Urban Air Mobility?

Remember Taxi Magic? No, it’s not a strain of cannabis. (You’re probably thinking of Somali Taxi Ride, which itself sounds like a questionable sex act that shouldn’t cost you more than a fiver.) Taxi Magic was an app that allowed you to hail a taxi on demand. That was back in 2008, about a year before a company called UberCab came on the scene. The point is that being the first out of the gate with any technology doesn’t guarantee you success, bringing us to today’s topic: The impending IPO from EHang, a Chinese company that is the first to begin commercialization of autonomous aerial vehicles (AAVs) in a nascent market that’s become known as urban air mobility.

What is Urban Air Mobility?

Before we dive into whether EHang is a good bet to emerge as the leader in urban air mobility (spoiler alert: meh), let’s briefly talk about what the term even means. We’ll turn to the big brains at NASA, which has started its own urban air mobility program, for the nuts-and-bolts definition: Urban air mobility refers to a “safe and efficient air transportation system where everything from small package delivery drones to passenger-carrying air taxis is operating above populated areas.” In other words, someday soon electric helicopters drones will regularly move people and stuff around cities without too many of us dying. These aerial acrobatics will mainly happen autonomously, thanks to advances in artificial intelligence, and will feature rechargeable electric propulsion systems.

Urban Air Mobility Market

The space agency even commission

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