RALEIGH, N.C. — North America's first demonstration of an autonomous air taxi took place Tuesday in Raleigh.

  • The EH 216 has flown in other parts of the world, but this is the first demonstration in North America
  • Was unmanned during today's flight, but can carry two adult passengers
  • Designed to work as a taxi service delivering people on preprogrammed routes

Governor Roy Cooper and Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon were among the more than 100 spectators in attendance at the event held at the State Highway Patrol Facility/Aviation Hangar, according to a release from the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

“Flight started in North Carolina over 100 years ago,” said Trogdon, whose agency hosted Tuesday’s demonstration. “So, it is appropriate the demonstration of this cutting-edge, disruptive technology takes place in North Carolina.”

The NCDOT says the vehicle is designed to function as a taxi service and would transport people to destinations on pregrammed routes. This was the first time the aircraft has ever been demonstrated for the public in North America, officials say, but it has flown in other parts of the world.

The craft was unmanned during Tuesday's demonstration, due to FAA guidelines, but can carry two adult, non pilots.

The flight demonstration comes just before the 2020 North Carolina Transportation Summit, which is scheduled to take place Wednesday and Thursday at the Raleigh Convention Center.