A decade ago, you wouldn’t even imagine a drone that can carry humans since drones are remotely controlled and risky for human transportation. Today, with the help of research of Ehang Corp, a major Chinese drone maker, it is now possible. The Ehang 184 is a one person automated drone that has carried passengers, multiple times. Most drones are small, with a camera attached and can only lift light objects but this one is large enough to carry a Chinese or any other passenger and has made 1000 complete flights with or without passengers.
Just imagine the possibilities of owning or flying in a helicopter that can beat traffic and land almost anywhere. You can fly to airports in places like New York, Las Vegas or Shanghai and still be on time since you are avoiding other high way vehicles and obstacles. The drawback is that it can only carry a payload of 500 pounds and can only travel for 23 minutes.
“Ehang first came into existence at CES in Las Vegas in 2016, promising a dream of personal robotic transportation by drone. Now it looks like it's made good on its promise, with more tests to follow in Dubai and Las Vegas,” according to Steven Overly of the Washington post.
Ehang 184 can carry passengers at speeds up to 100 mph for 30 minutes and it can carry a single passenger weighing up to 220 pounds and a small suit case for 30 minutes. It is built with carbon fiber panels and lightweight aluminium, eight electrically powered rotors and a special kind of battery to power the drone.
It is meant for just one passenger and uses satellites to chart the safest path. Ehang 184 takes off and lands at predetermined points and uses a camera to ensure safe landing. If there is any problem in the air, you have two options. The passenger can take control of the drone and land or it will automatically find the nearest and safest spot to land.
The Road Transport Authority in Dubai are making efforts to see that the taxi flying drone becomes a commercial unmanned aerial vehicle. The Dubai government has already started experimenting with the drone but it is not clear how much it will cost to ride in one of this invention.
The drone is another example of how the government of Dubai has made strides on new technology to shuttle people in the city. Officials there have begun working on a Hyperloop high-speed highway that could propel people and cargo in floating capsules at airplane-like speeds.