At CES 2016 in Las Vegas, a unique drone product was unveiled. The EHang 184 AAV stole the spotlight from every other quad-hexa-octocopter out there. Wondering what is so special about this drone? Well, its the closest thing to a flying car, probably even better!
Ehang‘s 184 AAV (Autonomous Aerial Vehicle) is designed to carry a single human passenger, independently flying them from one location to another. CEO Huazhi Hu was inspired to design the one-seater electric drone a couple of years ago, after two of his pilot friends were killed in plane crashes. He felt that people needed a form of short-distance personal air transport that didn’t require them to have a pilot’s license, and that took the danger out of low altitude flying.
The Chinese-built passenger drone will allow the user to simply get in, power it up, select their destination using a 12-inch touchscreen tablet display, then press the “take-off” button. The drone’s automated flight systems will take over from there, managing tasks such as communication with air traffic control, obstacle avoidance, and of course navigation – it will always choose the fastest yet safest route to reach the destination. The drone also has inbuilt failsafe systems will take over in the event of malfunctions and even lets the pilot to stop and hover the drone in place if needed.
The drone body is made up of carbon fiber mixed with epoxy composite and charges up within two hours in the fast mode. It has the power to be airborne for about 23 minutes with a maximum speed of 62 mph and the highest altitude being 11,48o ft.
Remember how we said it’s the closest thing to a flying car? yes because it also comes with a trunk for storing things. Other features include full interior and exterior lighting, air conditioning, a 4G internet connection, and gull-wing doors. This drone is also one of the smartest eco-friendly means of transport.
According to the EHang representative, the 184 is already fully functional, with a worldwide series of demo flights scheduled to begin soon. The drone will be priced somewhere between $200,000 and $300,000 also making it the costliest drone so far. But when your dream of owning a vehicle from the Jetson’s has come to life, does the price really matter?