CES 2016 surprised immensely the techie community once again! This time, it was a real-life, flying supersized drone that can carry passengers. The wonderful creation is the result of engineering efforts at Ehang – a Chinese company that was founded in 2014 but has come up with spectacular developments regardless of its young age.
The Ehang 184
The company called its autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) Ehang 184. The drone’s equipped with a number of useful features including a bi-color reading light, 4G data connectivity, air conditioning and a storage compartment that’s big enough for a large backpack. The maximum flight speed is 62 mph while the maximum height is 11,000 feet.
The features that give passengers comfort, however, aren’t the most important characteristics of Ehang 184.
The flying mechanism and ground control happen to be the most impressive Ehang innovations. The direction and point of destination are to be set via a smartphone app. The passenger can also control the takeoff and landing via the app. A pause option is also available for the person flying inside the drone. This option allows the drone to hover in the air in the case of a technical issue, for example.
This all means that no pilot training is necessary to use Ehang 184 and travel from point A to point B in a safe and effective manner.
Currently, the drone is being advertised as an AAV that’s capable of performing short to mid-distance flights. These can be utilized to deal with emergencies, carry passengers and cargo.
Just How Safe?
This all sounds great but is Ehang 184 safe? What happens if the drone suddenly breaks mid-flight?
According to Ehang, the drone is equipped with top fail-safe system that bring the risks of flying in the AAV down to a minimum. If Ehang 184 senses that any component has been compromised, the drone will land immediately at the nearest suitable location.
An Ehang 184 will also be set up (the first one appearing in China). The purpose of the professionals working there will be to prevent takeoffs in dangerous weather and to reduce the likelihood of other human errors.
All this sounds exciting but is Ehang 184 already available for purchase? The price and the conditions for buying the AAV will be announced some time during 2016. According to preliminary estimates, the cost of the super drone is going to be in the range between 200,000 and 300,000 dollars.