Popping to the shops? Hop in a passenger drone
The world's first passenger drone was unveiled in January by Chinese company Ehang. The quadcopter-like design is fully autonomous, with a button to lift off and another to land.
Ehang 184 specifications
Drone weight: 200 kilograms
Load capacity: 100 kilograms
Average speed: 100 kilometres per hour
Cruising time: 23 minutes
Charging time: 2-4 hours
Height range: more than 500 metres
Energy consumption: 14.4 kilowatt hours
The autonomous aerial vehicle Ehang 184 aims to provide a short-to-medium distance transport solution. The idea is a single passenger only will get in, power up, enter their destination and be on their way.
Designers at the Chinese drone-making company investigated various aeronautical materials for the main structure and finally settled on a composite material of carbon fibre and epoxy. The same material is used in spacecraft for its durability while remaining lightweight. The rest of the drone is made from aerial aluminum alloy.
According to Ehang, the 184 promises the ultimate flight experience: “Comfortable cabin environment, stable flight experience. Excellent dynamic balance and wind resistance assures a smooth and steady flight even in windy conditions.”
Ehang says it already has a fully functional 184 and commercial production could commence as soon as this year, with a US$200,000 price tag.