The annual CES expo currently on the go is great for those “I never knew I needed this” moments, and one such moment came when Chinese company Ehang unveiled a drone capable of transporting a person.
The video below shows off the drone and tells the story of the birth of the Ehang 184 drone and why exactly Chief Executive Officer, Huazhi Hu wanted to create a drone that can carry people.
Ehang 184 is able to carry up to 100kg in weight, is fitted with air-con, a reading light and can travel at approximately 100km/h. According to a report on The Guardian, the drone is able to climb to an altitude of 3.5km but is designed to operate at an altitude of 300 – 500 metres.
The drone is electrically powered and can be fully charged in two hours to give passengers a 23 minute flight time. According to the company, Ehang 184 will be controlled by an app in the cockpit but passengers will only be able to select a destination and won’t be able to control the drone. Once you’ve landed the rotors fold up and the Ehang 184 fits in a single parking spot.
The drone is expected to retail for $200 000 – $300 000 (R3.2 million – R4.8 million) when it goes on sale this year according to Ehang co-founder and Chief Financial Officer, Shang Hsaio who is aware the drone occupies a legal grey area.
As a safety measure, the rotors are designed to keep you in the air even if one fails and Ehang will be able to take control of the drone in the event of the emergency.
We suspect that there will be many hurried meetings being called this morning at the Civil Aviation Authority to discuss how exactly you regulate a drone like the Ehang 184.