Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s The Ehang 184 an autonomous, people-carrying quadcopter!
Ehang, a Chinese drone manufacturer, has recently released an unbelievable video of their new people carrying drone undergoing test flights.
The company boldly states their Ehang 184 is the first passenger drone in the world and will revolutionize transport in built-up areas.
Over 1,000 test flights with human passengers have been carried out by Ehang engineers over the last 6 months.
The drone excelled in performing a multitude of manoeuvres that included a vertical climb to over 300 meters, hi-speed cruising test where the drone reached a maximum of 80.7 mph or 129.8 kmh, a carrying capacity of more than 230kg was recorded and a waypoint and route following ability test.
In addition to the other tests, the drone was put through its paces in several different weather scenarios, including hot temperatures, heavy fog, gale-force and category 7 typhoon winds, and its ability to operate in the dark. The drone functioned effectively in every test.
CEO and Founder of Ehang, Huazhi Hu said: “What we’re doing isn’t an extreme sport, so the safety of each passenger always comes first,” further adding “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.”
The Ehang 184 currently has an operating range of 10 miles or 16 kilometres which equates to around 23 minutes of flying time claims the company.
Zero human input is required for the whole operation from initial take off to landing, however, if an emergency or other issue arises human operators located at the drone command station have the ability to take over the flight.
Initially the drone will predominantly be aimed at the luxury market, however, as technology evolves and becomes more cost effective the company expects their drone to be an affordable option for an aerial taxi and private hire service.