World’s First Passenger Drone: Details Emerge

Ehang-184 AAV (1)
The Ehang-184 AAV. (Image Credit: Abe Wakama).

At the 2016 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, a phenomenal amount of future tech thrilled visitors from across the globe.

Whilst flying cars were not present at CES 2016 there was a lot of interest surrounding the Ehang-184 Autonomous Aerial Vehicle (AAV).

The Ehang-184 AAV, which is currently being tested in China, may look similar to a drone; however, it has been purpose built to carry passengers.

According to EHang Vice President, Claire Chen: “The Ehang-184 AAV is completely autonomous, which means that a user does not need to know how to fly, neither will he/she need a pilot. The user can simply insert their destination into the control panel and the Ehang-184 AAV will fly the user there automatically.”

Ehang-184 AAV

According to Chen, Ehang’s CEO Huazhi Hu designed the Ehang-184 AAV after two of his friends were tragically killed in a plane crash. Chen stated that: “Our CEO has a vision, which is to create a safer mode of transportation in order to get consumers to their destination in the safest way possible.”

Chen revealed that, while the Ehang-184 AAV is still being tested, the company is currently working with various government agencies around the globe in a bid to commercialise the Ehang-184 AAV.

Chen further stated that the Ehang-184 AAV does not have a list price as of yet; however, it is estimated that it will come in at a starting price of about USD $300 000. However, Chen stated that the company expects that once the Ehang-184 AAV goes into mass production, it will eventually become more affordable for everyday consumers.

With a major emphasis being placed on safety, the company revealed that the Ehang-184 AAV has been embedded with a fail safe system. This essentially means that if any components malfunction or disconnect, the AAV will immediately land in the nearest possible area in order to ensure the safety of the passenger.

Additionally, during extreme weather conditions the command center of the Ehang-184 will prohibit the AAV from taking off. According to the company, whenever there is an emergency the passenger can instruct the system to land in the nearest possible area to ensure his/her safety.

Ehang-184 AAV

Taking a closer look at the 106KW Ehang-184 AAV, we found that the 1.5-metre long quadcopter has a flight time of 23 minutes as well as a load capacity of 100KG. It can also travel at speeds of up to 100KM/PH.

The outer body comes standard with airline signal lights as well as a headlight for increased visibility. It is also equipped with a downward-facing camera and has baggage space for a 16-inch backpack.

While the Ehang-184 AAV won’t entirely fly you across the globe, it can however be used to travel to and from work. In addition, the Ehang-184 AAV is small enough to fit into a regular sized parking spot and additionally features an air-conditioned cockpit – which comes standard with a reading light.

Darryl Linington @DarrylLinington
Abe Wakama