The Ehang 184 is designed to carry a single person up to 10 miles. Forget self-driving cars, that’s so 2015. Now a Chinese company is developing drones that will carry humans.
Drone-maker Ehang has built a prototype of a small, personal helicopter capable of carrying a single passenger – resembling a giant, remote control quadcopter of the sort flown by hobbyists. It was unveiled at the Las Vegas Convention Centre in January 2016 during the CES gadget show.
According to the company, the electric-powered drone can carry up to 100 kilograms of weight (220 pounds) and fly for 23 minutes at sea level. With propellers folded up, it is designed to fit in a single parking spot. The cabin fits one person and a small backpack and even has air conditioning and a reading light, Ehang said.
Some of the company’s claims border on the heroic. The company said the drone can be fully charged in 2 hours, adding that after setting a flight plan, passengers only need to give two commands, “take off” and “land,” each controlled by a single click.
The passenger need not pilot the craft, merely input the destination. The drone does the rest, plotting the course and avoiding obstacles.
In the air, it will be capable of speeds of up to 100 miles per hour.
It is called the 184 because it carries one passenger, has eight propellers and four arms.
Governments are just now starting to work out ways of regulating unmanned drones, let alone passenger drones, but Ehang says it is working with regulatory agencies to figure out how licensing might work.