It’s finally happening – humans will soon be able to fly inside a drone and a pilot’s license won’t even be necessary.
The Chinese drone maker Ehang first introduced the Ehang 184 at a global consumer electronics and consumer technology tradeshow (CES) in Las Vegas earlier this year and is now returning to Nevada for potential test flights.
About the size of a small car, the approximately 500-pound drone can transport one person at around 62 miles per hour on a roughly 23-minute trip. Passengers simply hop into the one-seater, enter their destination to any point on Google Maps via an app, and let the drone’s autonomous flight controls do the rest. In the event that the drone experiences problems, pilots housed in command centers have the ability to take control and guide the drone to a safe landing. The 184 also comes equipped with comfort features including air conditioning, a 4G data connection, storage big enough for a backpack, and a dual color reading light.
Ehang will conduct test flights with the state-sponsored Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS) in preparation for seeking approval with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which requires 28 hours of flight time to check air worthiness and numerous other exemptions and waivers.
Though it likely won’t be available to the public for a few more years, the 184 is expected to cost between $200,000 and $300,000.