Watch the Ehang 184 Passenger Drone Successfully Taxi Someone Around
The Chinese drone company's tested its passenger drone more than a thousand times, bringing the dream of a sky-taxi closer to reality.
The future is now. Chinese drone manufacturer Ehang has been toiling away on the Ehang 184, a quadcopter passenger drone, for a couple of years now. Today, after over a thousand test flights involving human passengers, the company released footage of some of these flights, shutting down naysayers and impressing newcomers to this company and its passenger-drone endeavors. Could sky-taxis be right around the corner?
According to The Verge, the past few months for Ehang was involved over a thousand test flights in China that included actual passengers, a 984-foot vertical ascent, a 500-pound weight test, a flight route covering 9.3 miles, and speed tests of up to 80.7 mph. Naturally, a variety of weather conditions was involved in these tests, as well, in order to be prepared for a battery of conditions. These included high temperatures, nighttime flights, visibility-hampering fog scenarios, and apparently, even winds mimicking a category 7 typhoon. If you were dubious before, regarding the real-world availability and functionality of the Ehang 184 upon first hearing about the project , these recent developments might sway you in the company’s favor.
Ehang founder and CEO Huazhi Hu stated that “What we’re doing isn’t an extreme sport, so the safety of each passenger always comes first. Now that we’ve successfully tested the Ehang 184, I’m really excited to see what the future holds for us in terms of air mobility.” Before we move on to the potential limitations and current capabilities of the drone, let’s take a gander at the design and appearance.
The Ehang 184 is frankly a pretty impressive machine, regarding its place in the nascent passenger-drone field. The electric quadcopter can transport a passenger for up to 10 miles, or for a duration of around 23 minutes. According to The Verge, one simply climbs in, enters the desired destination, and enjoys the view. Naturally, making the process this user-friendly involved implementing obstacle avoidance sensors, an autonomous guiding system, and the ability to take off and land vertically. If something were to malfunction, a remote pilot would take over controls and safely ground the vehicle wherever possible.
Below is the Ehang 184 in action.
The company has reportedly already designed and tested a model that could carry two passengers with a payload of 617 pounds. Ehang claimed it would present its single passenger drone at the World Government Summit in Dubai next week, in addition to Nevada offering the company an Federal Aviation Administration-approved test site. Frankly, we’re beyond excited to see this thing up close. More specifically, from within, while traversing neighborhoods in a major metropolitan city. Though that may seem far too futuristic and far-off to take seriously, Ehang certainly is, and the evolution from conceptualization to test flights and an alleged presentation later this month certainly proves nothing but confidence and capable work from the company. Stay tuned