The Ehang 184 – World’s first drone that can carry a human passenger
Chinese drone maker Ehang, which was founded in 2014, on Wednesday unveiled the world’s first drone that can carry a human passenger at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2016 in Las Vegas – The Ehang 184 Autonomous Aerial Vehicle (AAV).
The Ehang 184 is 1.5m tall and weighs 440-pounds and powered by powered by eight motors that have a maximum output of 106W. The company claims Ehang 184 can lift and transport humans weighing 220-pounds for 23 minutes on a single battery charge at a speed of 60 MPH. The electric-powered Ehang 184 can be fully charged in two hours.
Ehang said that the drone will be totally automated, meaning passengers will input a destination and have no control during the flight. The company says this will make the machine safer by eliminating “the most dangerous part of standard modes of transportation, human error.” Safety measures include an option that automatically brings the drone down to earth if something goes wrong or it’s damaged, the company said.
There is no need to manually pilot the Ehang 184. It navigates via EHang’s app, after setting a flight plan, passengers have to execute two commands, “take off” and “land,” each controlled by a single click on the 12-inch touchscreen tablet display, the company said.
It’s designed to fly fairly low, at altitudes of between 300 to 500 metres, but its creators claim it can reach 3,500 metres at the most and top speed of 63 miles per hour.
The Ehang 184 is made from a carbon fiber/epoxy composite body with an aerial aluminum alloy frame. The drone has been in development for three years, including a year of autonomous flight testing in China.
“It’s been a lifetime goal of mine to make flight faster, easier, and more convenient than ever. The 184 provides a viable solution to the many challenges the transportation industry faces in a safe and energy-efficient way,” said Ehang CEO Huazhi Hu. “I truly believe that Ehang will make a global impact across dozens of industries beyond personal travel. The 184 is evocative of a future we’ve always dreamed of and is primed to alter the very fundamentals of the way we get around.”
Ehang co-founder and Chief Financial Officer Shang Hsiao says the Ehang 184 is likely to cost between $200,000 and $300,000.